Lab members

Erin Bentley
Erin Bentley (
Ph.D. Student

Erin received her undergraduate degree in Animal and Veterinary Science, with a minor in Creative Writing. She is interested in population genetics, particularly of local and rare plants in the genus Penstemon. Her first two projects are considering the consequences of rarity for plant genetic diversity and plant microbiomes. Along with evolutionary biology, Erin is involved in many creative activities, including education and outreach through the microbestiary, and writing and podcasting fiction, painting, and pottery.

Alex Buerkle (
Principal Investigator

At UW, Alex worked on the evolutionary genetics of a variety of organisms and developed expertise in computational biology and laboratory genomics. He enjoys analysis and writing computer code to support inferences. At UW through May 2002, he contributed to leading the Modelscape Consortium, the Microbial Ecology Collaborative, the Data Science Center, and the Genome Technologies Laboratory. He taught Computational Biology, Computational Biology Practicum, and Population Genetics. He will maintain a relationship to UW, but is moving to employment with Gencove at the end of May, 2022.

Josh Jahner (
Postdoctoral researcher

Josh's research focuses on understanding how ecological dynamics shape evolutionary processes, including adaptation, hybridization, and speciation, in a variety of study organisms. He is part of the modelscape consortium and will be advancing our knowledge of statistical models of population genetics, particularly as relate to management and translocations of focal plants and animals.

S. Eryn McFarlane (
Postdoctoral researcher

Eryn is an evolutionary ecologist interested in speciation in wild systems. She uses quantitative genetics and genomics to answer questions about hybridization, reproductive isolation, competition and physiology. She is part of the modelscape consortium and her current research aims to integrate empirical data (from the Scottish Red deer x sika hybrids project) with simulations to make recommendations about best practices for statistics in evolutionary genetics.

Former lab members

John Calder (
Data Scientist, MX

John is trained as a paleoecologist. As a postdoc in the lab, he studied microbial communities in lakes and lake sediments along environmental gradients to learn about processes that affect taxon biogeography and community assembly. He also helped develop statistical models for biogeography and community ecology, with a particular interest in regression models for abundance along gradients, and using microbial abundance to infer past climates. He is now a data scientist working with the financial services firm MX.

Victoria DeLeo (
Plant scientist at Bowery

Victoria is interested in how plants respond through adaptation and phenotypic plasticity to their environments. She received her Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University, with Jesse Lasky. She was part of the modelscape consortium in 2021, where she competed sparse modeling approaches to statistical learning, helped develop a project on limits to predicting genotypes in natural systems, and achieved a shared goal of longer-term employment that combined data and plant science (Bowery).

Zach Gompert
Associate Professor, Utah State University

Zach completed his Ph.D. in the lab in the spring of 2012. He is broadly interested in population genetics, including adaptation and speciation. His empirical research involves large scale studies of genetic variation in time and space, hybridization, and experimental evolution. He regularly develops novel analytical approaches for population genomics.

Josh Harrison (
Computational biologist at Biobot

Josh is an computational biologist and evolutionary ecologist who has studied plant-microbe and plant-insect interactions. As a postdoc he developed statistical models of microbial assemblages and used these in observational and experimental settings to build our knowledge of the processes that affect the biogeography and community ecology of microbes. He also built his expertise in machine learning and hierarchicial probability modeling, which he is now applying to analyses of wastewater for public health with Biobot.

Monia Haselhorst
Monia Haselhorst (
Associate Professor, Colorado Mountain College

Monia is interested in the processes of plant adaptation and speciation. She seeks evolutionary and biogeographic explanations for why a plant is living where it is, how it ended up there, and what made it possible for it to adapt to its environment. Her Ph.D. focused on dynamics of hybridization among six species of North American spruce and environmental correlates of genetic differentiation within two co-distributed species.

Brittany Jenkins
Postdoctoral researcher, Montana State University

Brittany worked in the lab for two years, first as an undergraduate and then as a research assistant. She worked on genetic variation in lodgepole pine and completed two projects on population genetic variation in different species of Penstemon. Thereafter she completed her M.A. at the University of Colorado working with Becca Safran, and then returned to the University of Wyoming as a research scientist for a few years. She completed her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology working with Doug Kominsky.

Doro Lindtke (
Genomics Data Analyst, Agroscope

Doro is interested in speciation and hybridization, particularly in the mechanisms that are responsible for the buildup and maintenance of reproductive barriers between incompletely isolated species. She uses computer simulations to study how neutral and non-neutral evolutionary processes can affect the heterogeneity of introgression in hybrid genomes. She is further interested in how the information that resides in hybrid genomes can potentially be used to reveal the genetic architecture of reproductive isolation. Doro joined the lab for a year (2013-2014), after completing her Ph.D. in Christian Lexer's lab at the University of Fribourg. She supported her work in the lab thru a fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Lauren Lucas
Research scientist and lecturer, Utah State University

Lauren was a research scientist in the lab for a year. She is interested in speciation, hybridization, and phylogeography. She is investigating the contribution of morphological characters to reproductive isolation in Lycaeides butterflies. As part of this research, she is working to identify genetic and developmental constraints on the evolution of wing patterns. Lauren also studies the phylogeographic history of aquatic taxa endemic to aquifers in central Texas. The primary aim of this research is to understand how the history of population divergence and patterns of gene flow vary among taxa with different life histories. This work informs management decisions for the endangered and threatened populations of these taxa. Furthermore, in collaboration with other scientists and teachers, she has developed lessons for the secondary science classroom based on her research.

Liz Mandeville
Liz Mandeville (
Assistant Professor, University of Guelph

Liz is interested in speciation, adaptation, and hybridization in aquatic systems, primarily in fish. For her Ph.D. she worked on sucker hybridization in the Colorado river basin in the mountain west. As a postdoc, she work intiated work with Katie Wagner and Annika Walters on hybridization in trout. She is an assistant professor and computational biologist at the University of Guelph, where she continues innovative research on population genetics of fishes.

Tom Parchman
Tom Parchman
Associate Professor, University of Nevada–Reno

Tom was a postdoctoral research scientist in the lab. His research is at the interface of ecology and evolutionary biology, specifically in the ecological processes that underlie population divergence, speciation, coevolution, and adaptive radiation. His work utilizes field and experimental techniques to quantify natural selection and resulting trait evolution, and molecular markers to address questions involving natural genetic variation and the genetic basis of adaptive evolution. Much of Tom's research has focused on crossbills (Aves: Loxia) and different conifers on which they specialize, and has investigated the contribution of geographically structured coevolution to the diversification of crossbills. His recent work involves phylogeographic and population genomic studies of lodgepole pine, and investigations into the genetic control of adaptive traits, most notably cone serotiny, as well as helping several collaborators obtain and analyze population genomic data.

Vivaswat Shastry
Vivaswat Shastry (
Ph.D. student, University of Chicago

Vivaswat completed his M.S. in Botany in summer 2020. Previously he received an undergraduate degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from UW. In the lab, he extended population genetic methods and software for inferring genotypes and ancestry in polyploids, in part to facilitate our research on genomic variation in alfalfa that is naturalized in the western United States. The software is called entropy. He is now pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago with Jeremy Berg.

Qiurong Wang
Qiurong Wang
Postdoctoral researcher, University of Wyoming

Qiurong was a Ph.D. student (2007–2012) in the laboratory and pursued projects related to historical recombination in natural hybrid populations. Qiurong completed her Ph.D. in Jun Ren's laboratory at the University of Wyoming and went on to be a postdoctoral researcher in UW's Department of Animal Science.