Lab Alumni

Dr. Samantha Hauser, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2018 – 2021. Sam leveraged high-resolution genomic data to generate the first dataset capable of resolving population structure in the Hawaiian monk seal, helping to guide conservation efforts.  Sam also worked to integrate genomic data into partially known pedigrees to improve ex situ breeding recommendations for captive species, and generated best practice guides.  Sam is now a Conservation Geneticist at Embark.

Rachel Cook, M. S. Student, 2019 – 2021. Rachel used next-generation sequence data to disentangle the roles of natural selection and demography in broad scale evolution of MHC in mule deer.

Dr. Rachael Giglio (Toldness), M. S. Student, 2011 – 2014, PhD Student 2014 – 2019. Rachael developed individual-based models to test alternative culling strategies to maintain genetic variation in bison herds for her MS thesis.  Then, she transitioned to work on population genomics and disease transmission in prairie dogs for her PhD.  Rachael completed a postdoc at Ohio State University, studying evolutionary genomics in Andreas Chaves’ lab, and is now a Research Scientist at the USDA-APHIS National Wildlife Research Center in Fort Collins, CO.

Genelle Uhrig, M. S. Student, 2016 – 2019. Genelle used non-invasively collected DNA from fecal pellets to estimate snowshoe hare density in Michigan’s Upper peninsula using genetic capture mark recapture. Genelle is now Director of Wildlife Ecology at The Wilds, the largest wildlife conservation center in North America.

Bennett Hardy, M. S. Student, 2015 – 2018. Bennett focused his work on the conservation genomics of Cascades Frogs in the southern Cascades Range, using next-generation sequencing to better understand factors currently impeding species recovery. Bennett is currently a Ph.D. student in Larissa Bailey’s lab at Colorado State University, funded with a GRFP from NSF awarded while at UWM!

Dr. Margaret Haines, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2016 – 2018. Maggie further explored the mule deer x black-tailed deer hybrid swarm by analyzing SNPs in functional genes for evidence of adaptive introgression. Her work supports the idea that many genes of small effect influence hybridization dynamics in this system. Read about Maggie’s return to working on skink speciation at Museums Victoria on her website.

Dr. John Powell, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2013 – 2014. John used exon capture data to study evolution in mule deer. He was able to identify several genes under selection in a mule deer x black-tailed deer hybrid zone. John is currently a Fisheries Research Geneticist with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s Eagle Fish Genetics Laboratory.

Dr. Elizabeth Kierepka, Ph.D. Student, 2009-2014. Liz used spatial statistical methods to investigate patterns of genetic structure in the American badger, at fine and broad scales, and related those patterns to hypothesized ecological specialization in this species. Liz coordinated a large citizen-science effort to collect samples. She also worked on a number of side projects while in my lab. Liz has started her own lab studying mammalian conservation genetics as a Professor with the North Carolina Museum of Natural History and NC State University.

Brittany Suttner, Undergraduate Researcher, 2012-2014. Brittany worked on a variety of projects, including using 454 sequencing to characterize MHC variation in mule deer, and using historical and contemporary samples to investigate the effects of sport fishing on genetic variation in bluegill and walleye (in collaboration with the Wisconsin DNR and the School of Freshwater Sciences at UWM). Brittany recently finished her PhD in the Konstantinidis Lab at Georgia Tech (funded by a GRFP from NSF), and is now a Senior Research Scientist doing computational metagenomics at GenoTwin.

Katie McKenney, M.S. Student, 2012-2013. Katie looked at extra-pair paternity in house wrens, in collaboration with the Whittingham Lab and the Center for Conservation and Evolutionary Genetics at the National Zoo (Smithsonian Institution). Katie is currently a Clinical Research Coordinator at the Froedert and Medical College of Wisconsin – Eye Institute.

Ona Alminas, M. S. Student, 2011 – 2013. Ona used museum specimens and historical DNA to investigate the phylogeography of insular mule deer subspecies in the desert southwest, including putative subspecies on Cedros (O. h. cerrosensis) and Tiburon (O. h. sheldoni) Islands in Mexico. Ona is currently a Senior Environmental Scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Dr. Gwilym Haynes, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2010 – 2012. Gwilym investigated genetics of local adaptation, reproductive isolation and speciation in a natural hybrid swarm between mule deer and black-tailed deer (highly divergent forms of the species Odocoileus hemionus) in the Pacific Northwest. His research involved using a novel exon capture approach for SNP discovery and genotyping in non-model organisms. Following a postdoc at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, studying sea star speciation using genomics, Gwilym stayed on at Simon Fraser as an Instructor, interested in pedagogical approaches in biology.

Brett Heim, Undergraduate researcher, 2009 – 2011. Brett worked to develop and optimize microsatellite markers for research on captive populations of the critically endangered addax. His work was published in Zoo Biology. Brett went on to get his M.S. degree from the Strahm Lab at Virginia Tech, studying climate gradients and soil respiration in loblolly pine, and is currently a Researcher at the University of Minnesota.