Daven Presgraves, PI Daven received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology from the University of Maryland at College Park with Jerry Wilkinson and his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Rochester with Allen Orr. He was an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Munich with Wolfgang Stephan and an NIH-NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University with Andy Clark. Daven is now a Professor at the University of Rochester. The Presgraves Lab, established in 2005, works on evolutionary genetics and genomics using Drosophila species as models with funding from the NIH, NSF, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the David & Lucile Packard Foundation.

Amanda Larracuente, Postdoc Amanda received her B.S. in Biology from Canisius College in 2003 and her Ph.D. in Genetics from Cornell University, where she performed comparative analyses of the 12 Drosophila genomes, studied the factors affecting protein-coding sequence evolution, and investigated the genetics and evolution of the D. pseudoobscura neo-Y chromosome with Andy Clark. Amanda is now a NIH-funded NRSA postdoctoral fellow working on the genetics, molecular biology and population genomics of the Segregation Distorter complex and studying the evolution and regulation of the Responder satellite DNAs in D. melanogaster.  Amanda will be joining the University of Rochester’s Biology Department faculty in 2015. Visit Amanda’s web site here.

BortEdwardsRobert Edwards, Postdoc  Robert (“Bort”) received his B.S. from the Australian National University in Canberra and his PhD from the University of Queensland, where he combined field and phylogenetics methods to study biogeography and speciation in the broad-leaved paper bark (Melaleuca leucadendra) species complex. He is now studying the genetics hybrid male sterility in D. simulans and D. mauritiana.


Zhenguo Zhang, Postdoc  Zhenguo received his B.S. from Nanjing University and his PhD from the Chinese Academy of Science, where he used computational approaches to study alternative splicing and nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. He then did a postdoc with Masotoshi Nei at Penn State, where he studied the molecular evolution of sex determination in Drosophila. He is now using RNAseq data to study the evolution and regulation of sex chromosomes in the Drosophila male germline.

Emily Landeen, Graduate Student Emily received her B.S. from the University of Arizona, where she worked with Michael Nachman. She is now studying the regulation of the X chromosome in the Drosophila male germline, and she’s working to determine the molecular and evolutionary basis of the the special role played by the X chromosome in speciation between D. mauritiana and its sibling species.

Cara Brand, Graduate Student Cara received her B.S. in Biology from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she worked with Jerry Wilkinson. She then spent a year as research technician in Jerry Wilkinson’s lab, working on hybrid male sterility and meiotic drive in stalk-eyed flies. She is now studying the population genetics of interspecific introgression between Drosophila simulans clade species (with Dan Garrigan), evolutionary history of the Segregation Distorter system, and the molecular genetic basis of evolved differences in the rate of recombination between Drosophila species.

ChristinaMuirhead Christina Muirhead, Computational Biologist/Theorist Christina (“Tee”) received her B.S. in Mathematics from Yale University and her Master’s from the University of Oregon, where she studied under Russ Lande. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, where she studied under Montgomery Slatkin. She then did a postdoc with John Wakeley at Harvard University. Tee is now contributing to our divergence population genomics analysis between D. mauritiana and D. simulans and doing bioinformatics work on the regulation of sex chromosomes in the Drosophila male germline.

Lori_WrightLori Wright, Laboratory Manager/Research Technician Lori received her B.S. in Biology from Syracuse University, where she did research with William T. Starmer on cactophilic Drosophila. After graduating, she began her molecular biology career in Tom Eickbush‘s lab, before moving to the University of Rochester’s Department of Micorobiology and Immunology.  She’s now working on the regulation of gene expression from the sex chromosomes in Drosophila testis.


Ben Goulet, Undergraduate Researcher Ben graduated with a B.S in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology with a Distinction in Research. He is a recipient of the Department’s 2014 Grace McCormack Award and he was the 2014 Biology Class Speaker. He worked on the genetic and molecular basis of a hybrid lethal incompatibility between Drosophila mauritiana and its two sister species. He now works in Mark Siegal‘s lab in the Center for Genomics & Systems Biology at NYU.

Justin Roncaioli, Undergraduate Researcher Justin graduated with a B.S in Molecular Genetics (with minors in Chemistry and Psychology). He worked on genetic suppressors of the Segregation Distorter element in D. melanogaster.  He now works on cancer and telomere biology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Victoria Cattani, Graduate Student Vicky received her Licenciatura in Ciencias Biológicas from the University of Buenos Aires and her M.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Rochester. She worked on the evolution and genetics of a lethal X-autosome hybrid incompatibility between D. mauritiana and its two sibling species, D. simulans and D. sechellia. She also studied the evolution of the genetic control of recombination rate differences between species of Drosophila. In 2012, Vicky completed her Ph.D. and moved on to a postdoc doing evolutionary genomics in C. elegans in Matt Rockman‘s lab at NYU.

Sarah Kingan, Postdoc Sarah received her B.S. in Biology from Brown University and her Ph.D. in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from Harvard University where she studied the evolution and population genetic history of a cryptic sex ratio distorter system in the Drosophila simulans clade species with Dan Hartl. She worked on the genomics of complex speciation between D. simulans, D. mauritiana, and D. sechellia.  Sarah has migrated to Dan Garrigan‘s lab, where she continues her work on population genomics in D. mauritiana.

Colin Meiklejohn, Postdoc Colin received his B.A. in Biology from the University of Chicago and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University where he studied the population genetics and transcriptional evolution of genes with male-biased expression in Drosophila with Dan Hartl. He was a NIH-NRSA postdoctoral researcher at Brown University where he worked on cytonuclear incompatibilities between closely related Drosophila species with David Rand. He studies the evolution and regulation of the X chromosome in the male germline and the evolution of gene interactions affecting gene expression in Drosophila (funded by a NSF grant to CDM). Colin is now a faculty member of the University of Nebraska’s School of Biological Sciences.

Pierre Gerard, Postdoc Pierre received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Genetics from the University of Paris VII and the University of Nancy, and his Ph.D. in forest genetics from ENGREF Paris. He worked on the genetics and evolution of embryonic lethality in D. simulans-D. melanogaster hybrids. Pierre is now a postdoc working on the genetics and evolution of sex ratio meiotic drive in Drosophila simulans at the CNRS/Université Paris-Sud XI with Catherine Montchamp-Moreau.