Current Lab members

Dr. Peter Euclide, Postdoctoral fellow, 2020- present

I am an evolutionary biologist who is interested in using the combination of modern genomic techniques and ecology to answer questions related to animal movement and local adaptation that inform management and conservation. My research centers around the use of DNA sequencing to develop molecular tools, such as GT-seq and Rapture panels that I then use to study fish evolution and population structure in the Great Lakes. However, I have had the opportunity to work on all sorts of other projects including whole-genome re-sequencing and environmental DNA barcoding (https://peuclide.github.io/). 

In Dr. Emily Latch’s lab my primary focus has been the development of GT-seq panels for walleye and white-tailed deer.

Xueling Yi, Ph.D. student, 2017 – present

I have a broad interest in evolution and ecology of vertebrates, especially mammals. My research uses molecular methods and multiple genetic analyses to study wild populations. In this way, I am trying to answer basic evolutionary questions and help with wildlife conservation.

I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences from Peking University in China. My undergraduate research focused on phylogeography of mammal fauna on Hainan Island and their conspecific groups on mainland China. Using molecular phylogeny and timing, I discovered deep island-mainland divergence in two small mammals but panmictic populations in another three species. By comparing these new results with previous studies across unrelated species, I was able to summarize basic phylogeographic patterns between island and mainland and potential gene flow across the strait. I also promoted a brief evolutionary history (since the Quaternary) of Hainan mammals, with an emphasis on the influence from historical geographic events.

I graduated from Peking University in July 2017 and came to the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in August 2017 as a Ph.D. student. My current project is about conservation genetics of Wisconsin bat populations, which are declining because of the White Nose Syndrome. I am interested in studying the impact of WNS on bat microevolution, including their population structure, landscape genetics, demography, and immunology. This research is in collaboration with Forest Service with a goal of bat conservation and management.

Brielle Shortreed, Ph.D. student, 2021 – present

I have a variety of research interests including population genetics, anthropogenic effects on ecology, and mathematical modeling. Much of my research focuses on using next generation techniques and genetic analyses to study wild populations, many of which are endangered, to locate genetic markers telling us more about parentage, migration patterns, and divergent evolution between populations.

I am a proud UW-Milwaukee Panther having received my Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Sciences and a Minor in Mathematics in May of 2020. Throughout my undergraduate career, I had the opportunity to use my education to foster a variety of experiences for both travel and academic growth. I spent a summer at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville using mathematics to model host/virus interactions of algal blooms which alter ocean biogeochemistry. I also spent a year working for Dr. Peter Dunn at UWM researching both swallow mating systems, as well as warbler genetics–which revealed possible links for genetic basis of differential migration patterns in warblers. Furthermore, I also spent time working in industry where I specialized in optimizing pathogenic bacteria food safety protocols for chicken and beef food products.

I am excited to return to the UWM community this year as a member of the Latch Lab. I hope to use my time here attaining my PhD to do my part in helping maintain the endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal Population while designing a possible captive breeding management program.

Chandika R G, Ph.D. student, 2021 – present

My research interest revolves around how genomics & GIS can help in wildlife monitoring and conservation. In particular, for my Ph.D., I intend to look at the coding regions in the genome in the North American cervid populations for diseases such as Chronic Wasting Disease.

Before enrolling at UWM, I worked in three different projects at various laboratories in India. My genetics journey began with my Master’s dissertation on landscape genetics of Nilgiri Tahr, an endemic-endangered ungulate in South India. Parallelly, I was shown how integrating landscape data could bring out reasons that hinder gene flow between populations. This experience in genetics paved the way to execute a project independently for deducing the genetics of captive-bred Red Panda in Darjeeling Zoo, India and Singalila National Park, India (captive-bred individuals will be restocked in Singalila). My interest to use -omics for conservation developed during this project when the ‘genetic health’ of the population was sought by the conservation managers. We studied the microsatellite diversity of these Red Pandas, and helped to make decision on which individuals could enhance the genetic diversity in this population.

After completing this project, I moved to the Zoological Survey of India in a DST-SERB-funded project that will deduce the phylogeography and colonization history of Indian Rhesus macaque. Though this is a species under Least Concern in IUCN Red List, it has become vermin in many parts of India. Apart from that, its range extension because of human mediated changes in the landscape is posing threat to bonnet macaque which is an endemic species in South India. It will be interesting so see how this project would take shape especially from management perspective.

My leisure activities include reading topics in psychology and permaculture, anything artsy and appreciating good thought-provoking humor. My outdoor hobbies are biking and photography.

Madeline Opie, M.S. student, 2021 – present


Born and raised in Wisconsin, I earned my Bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences and studies from UW – Madison in 2018. My undergraduate research included work on microecosystem nutrient input in heliconia plants in Ecuador, wintering bird feeding habits in Wisconsin, as well as the effect of climate change on increasing air pollution and its relationship with human health and hospital costs.

After my undergraduate career I worked a few seasons in and out of Wisconsin. I worked as an outdoor field instructor in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and a trail builder for the National Parks Service on Isle Royale, Michigan. Prior to the beginning of the pandemic I worked as a Forest Service park ranger in Juneau, Alaska at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center. My time in Alaska confirmed to me that I wanted to continue my education in biology.

As of Fall 2021 I am a Master’s student in the Latch lab. I’m interested in studying population genetics within a wildlife management context. As a former park ranger my longterm goals are to use research to make real time management decisions that protect and conserve our public lands and the species that live within those unique habitats.

In addition to school, I work part time for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as an Environmental Program Associate in the Remediation and Redevelopment program. I work in database management for spill and underground storage tank clean up in the Southeast region of the state.

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