If you are interested in joining the lab please contact me  

As a mentor, I work to help lab members develop into strong independent scientists.  I provide a supportive environment in which students and post-docs have considerable independence in the work they do while in the lab.  Lab members have gone on to successful careers in academia, private industry, and scientific communication. 

Current Lab Members

Graduate Students

I currently have no graduate students -- but am interested in recruiting. 


Brendan Epstein
Brendan was a graduate student in the lab and is now working as a post-doc.  Brendan is interested in computational and genomic analyses.  His contributions have been important in all our work on population genomic of bacteria and symbiosis.  


Former Members

Former Post-docs

Tuomas Hämälä
Tuomas is currently an Academy of Finland postdoctoral fellow at University of Oulu.  When in the lab, Tuomas and I collaborated on investigating signatures of local adaptation on polygenic traits (using coexpression networks as proxies for functional modules), the role of pleiotropy in local adaptation, how gene conversion can affect signatures of selection in selfing species, and how selection acts on structural variants in plants.  Tuomas earned his PhD with Outi Savolainen at Univ. Oulu, Finland, his dissertation work investigated Local adaptation in Arabidopsis lyrata.

Liana Burghardt
Liana is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Plant Science at Penn State.  While in the lab Liana and I collaborated on investigating the extent of genomic, transcriptomic, and phenotypic variation in both Medicago and Ensifer symbionts and the extent to which this variation (or lack there of) reflects ongoing coevolution.  To efficiently assay naturally occurring variation we developed a select-and-resequence approach that allows us to efficiently assay strain fitness when strains are part of multi-strain communities.  Liana earned her PhD working with Kathleen Donohue at Duke.

Courney Passow - currently a member of the Funded Services team at the University of Minnesota Genomics Center 
Courtney is a UMN College of Biological Sciences Grand Challenges in Biology Post-doctoral Fellow working with Suzanne McGaugh (mostly) and myself.  Her work is integrating coexpression networks and population genetics to understand evolution an dadaptation in utrient and light-poor environments, using Astyanax mexicanus as a model.

Jeremy Yoder - currently Assistant Professor California State University Northridge
Jeremy mostly focused on using genomic data to understand local adaptation and the evolution and population genetics of symbiotic interactions.  While in the lab he also was involved in using association genetics to identify targets of local adaptation, investigated the phylogenomics of the genus.  In addition to his biology-related research, Jeremy was active in research to understand the participation and experience of LGBTQ in STEM.  He also was (and still is) active in communicating science (and related issues) through to non-scientists.

John Stanton-Geddes - currently a data analyst in the private sector.
John worked on sequence-based GWAS analyses as well as the potential for using high-density markers to estimate heritability in natural populations.  

Timothy Paape - currently an Assistant Biologist a the Brookhamven National Laboratory.
Tim worked on population genomics (recombination, selection) and association genetics in Medicago.

Antoine Branca - Maître de conférences (Assistant Professor), Université Paris 11, Orsay
Antoine worked on population genomics of Medicago and Sinorhizobia.

Stephen Keller - Associate Professor, University of Vermont
Steve used population genetic approaches to investigate the demographic history and local adaptation in balsam poplar.

Maurine Neiman - Associate Professor, Department of Biology, University of Iowa
Maurine  spent a year in my lab investigating the molecular evolution and population genetics of protease inhibitor genes in Poplar.

Jennifer Lau - Associate Professor, Deparmtnet of Biology, Indiana University
Jen collaborated on research investigating potential evolutionary impacts of increasing concentrations of atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

David Moeller - Associate Professor, Department of Plant Biology, University of Minnesota
Dave collaborated on research investigating the molecular evolution of plant immunity genes and characterizing the population structure of teosinte (Zea mays ssp. parviglumis) and was the lead on work investigating the ecological and evolutionary limits of species range expansion.

Former Graduate Students

Amanda Gorton (co-advised with David Moeller)
Amanda is currently a Grand Challenges in Biology Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Minnesota, working at the intersection of urban ecology, environmental policy, environmental epidemiology, and equity.worked on understanding the factors that shape the scale of local adaptation, using urban and rural populations of ragweed as an empirical system.  

Joseph Guihlin - currently a post-doc with Genomic Aotearoa
Joseph joined the lab with extensive computational experience and expertise.  He has been providing informatics support fot the Medicago HapMap project while working on a dissertation that integrates development of computational tools, the role of copy number variation in phenotypic variation in Medicago, and the population genomics of Sinorhizobia.

Derek Nedveck MS - currently working as a data analyst in the private sector.
As a graduate student he worked on local adaptation in legume-rhizobia symbisosis in Minnesota populations of Lotus

Mohamed Yakub
Mo is currently the Scientific Outreach Manager at SciLine, an editorially independent free service for journalists covering science, health, the environment and agriculture. Based at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington. Prior to SciLine, Mo was the Outreach and Education Coordinator for the Stakman-Borlaug Center for Sustainable Plant Health here at the Univ. of MN.
As a graduate student Mo investigated the how urban environments affect evolution of plant populations.  Mo also was a co-founder of Market Science, a highly successful outreach program shares science through hands-on learning activities for kids, answering scientific questions for market goers, and creating conversations between researchers and their communities.

Brendan Epstein (co-advised with Mike Sadowsky) -- he's back and currently working with me as a post-doc.
Brendan is investigating the population genomics of rhizobia.  In addition to standard SNP-based surveys of diversity he is currently exploring the evolutionary history of duplications and horizontally-transferred genes. 

John Stanton-Geddes (coadvised by Ruth Shaw) -- data analyst in the private sector
John's dissertation investigated the ecological genetics of habitat specialization and range limitations.

Katy Heath - Associate Professor, Department of Plant Biology University of Illinois
Katy's dissertation research investigated evolutionary forces that may maintain genetic variation in the Medicago-Sinorhizobia symbiosis.

Laurie Stone - MS (coadvised by Ruth Shaw)

Peter Tiffin
612 624-7406

Dept. of Plant Biology
Univ. of Minnesota
250 Biosciences
St. Paul, MN 55108

Graduate Faculty:
Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, and Plant Biology