Graduate Students

Eason Lab

Matt S. Elder

Graduate Fellow

Education: B.S. in Biological Sciences – Virginia Tech 2014, M.S. in Biology – James Madison University 2018

Research Interests: Avian and Mammal Behavioral Ecology. Currently I'm beginning research on breeding behavior of raptors in urban and suburban environments.

Emery Lab

Aaron Sexton

Aaron Sexton

PhD Candidate

Education: BA University of Denver

Research Interests: My research focuses on how urbanization impacts pollination networks. Specifically, I research how floral phenology and solitary bee nesting behaviors change along an urbanization gradient.

www.aaronsexton.com

Grace Freundlich

Grace Freundlich

PhD Candidate/Research Assistant

Education: Dickinson College B.S. Biology

Research Interests: Plant-insect interactions and plant defense.

Kimberly Koenig

Kimberly Koenig

GTA/PhD Student

Education: B.A. in Psychology from University of Kentucky, focus on animal behavior
MSSW from UofL Kent School, focus on school social work
Undergraduate work in biology at UNC Wilmington and NKU

Research Interests: Protection, conservation and restoration of local ecosystems, including Eastern deciduous forests, through the understanding of soil dynamics and processes, especially the role and relationships of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, along with the ecology, effects, and management of invasive species.

Website

Kylea Garces

Kylea Garces

PhD Student/Graduate Teaching Assistant

Education: BS, Environmental Sciences University of Oregon 2014

Research Interests: Kylea's research has focused greatly on how fungal-plant interactions can shape community outcomes as well as the effects global change can have on shifting the direction and magnitude of these interactions to further alter community dynamics. Her current research asks how resource addition in the form of nitrogen deposition alters fungal root endophyte community responses within American beachgrass and how those changes within the belowground community may impose aboveground responses of the dune grass community on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Key Words: Fungal-plant interactions, global change, mutualisms, endophytes, dunes

Ewald Lab

Nate Steffens

Nate Steffens

Graduate Teaching Assistant, PhD student

Education: University of Arizona – BS in Veterinary Science

Research Interests: Broadly, I am interested in the evolution of infectious disease manifestation. My research focuses on 1) the evolution of optimal virulence and 2) host manipulation by parasites.

Menze Lab

David Grimm

David Grimm

PhD Student, GTA

Education: Eastern Illinois University, Bachelor of Science

Research Interests: Biomimetic approaches to cell preservation.

Robert Skolik

Robert Skolik

Graduate teaching assistant, PhD candidate

Education: B.S. Biology, Eastern Illinois University

Research Interests: Mitochondrial bioenergetics, cancer cell metabolism, oxidative stress, mitophagy.

Website

Perlin Lab

Hector Mendoza

Hector Mendoza

Graduate Student

Education: CUNY Queens College

Research Interests: Fungal models to elucidate evolution of sexual dimorphism, mitochondrial inheritance mechanisms, heteroplasmy, mitogenomics, mito-metabolomics, plant-pathogen interactions and molecular mechanisms of disease.

Ming Chang Tsai

Ming-Chang Tsai (Nelson)

Graduate Student

Education: MS in Nutrition, Food Science and Packaging in San Jose State University. MS and PhD candidate in Biology in University of Louisville

Research Interests: Interactions between fungal proteins and plant host proteins during infection.

Roxanne Leiter

Roxanne Leiter

PhD Candidate

Education: M.Sc. University of Louisville

Research Interests: My research interests have always involved genetics, though sometimes of very different flavors! My master's work was in human population genetics and I have moved over to the biology department to study fungal genetics in the Spring of 2018 for a more functional approach to the study of genes. Underlying these two disparate areas of study within genetics has been a consistent interest in evolution and the flow of genetic information through time and across geographical space. My prospective dissertation project involves characterizing the genetic basis of infection in generalist species within the Microbotryum genus, which is a well-known group within a broader class of smut fungi. Through my dissertation research with Dr. Michael Perlin, I hope to explore the evolutionary dynamics between plant hosts and their fungal pathogens by studying the genetic underpinnings of infection strategies employed by fungi.

Sunita Khanal

Sunita Khanal

Ph.D .candidate/Graduate Teaching Assistant: Instructing the lab for BIOL 244 – Principles of Biology

Education:
PhD candidate- MCDB program, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky
MS – Biology, University of Louisville, Kentucky
MSc – Biotechnology, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal
BSc – Microbiology, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal

Research Interests: Microbial genetics, Construct the deletion and overexpression mutants of the genes involved in nitrogen assimilation in Ustilago maydis and examine their phenotypes as to the growth ability, mating efficiency, pathogenesis, and on expression of genes involved in the mating and pathogenesis programs.

Website

Running Lab

Jesse Rozsa

PhD Student

Education: B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Buffalo, M.Sc. from the University of Louisville

Research Interests: My research interests include using plants as a model organism and manipulating plats to produce molecules to benefit society. These molecules can include anything from conductive organic polymers for use in engineering, to dietary lipids for health.

Schultz Lab

David Taylor

David M. Taylor

PhD Student & Research Assistant

Education: Undergrad at Florida Atlantic University – Biology/Biotechnology

Research Interests: Unusual monoenoic fatty acids: their biosynthesis, regulation, and applications.

Yanoviak Lab

Daniella Prince

Daniella Prince

PhD Candidate & Graduate Teaching Assistant

Education: Marine Biology Sc. B., Brown University, 2012

Research Interests: Sensory ecology, evolution & behavior of tropical ants; comparative neurobiology; natural history.

website: daniellaprince.com @daniellants (Twitter)

Kane Lawhorn

Kane Lawhorn

PhD Student

Education: B.S. University of Tennessee Knoxville

Research Interests: I am interested in the role that disturbance plays in shaping local arthropod communities. Specifically, I am investigating the abiotic and biotic differences in canopy gaps formed by treefalls versus lightning strikes in the tropics. I study beetle and ant communities to determine if arthropod communities differ between lightning-caused canopy gaps and treefall canopy gaps.

Keywords: disturbance, lightning, treefall, canopy gaps, beetles, ants, arthropods, tropics