Andy received his B.S. in Biology in 1997 from Grand Valley State University in Michigan. He went on to receive a M.S. degree in Entomology and EEB from Iowa State University in 2000. He earned his Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin in 2006 studying the patterns and consequences of marine–freshwater transitions by diatoms. From there he went on to Jeff Palmer's lab at Indiana University where he worked on the evolution of mitochondrial genome size in flowering plants with funding from a NIH NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship. In 2011, he became an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas. [Google Scholar Profile] [Twitter] [GitHub] [FigShare]
Elizabeth RuckResearch Associate
Elizabeth received her Ph.D. from The University of Texas at Austin in 2010. For her dissertation research, Elizabeth studied the phylogeny and systematics of the diatom order Surirellales, which gave insights into the origins of endemic species in ancient lakes. Elizabeth runs day-to-day operations in the lab and is studying the plastid genome evolution in diatoms. She's especially interested in understanding patterns of deterioration in the plastid genomes of non-photosynthetic species.
Teofil NakovPostdoctoral researcher
Teo joined the lab as a post-doc in September 2014. He's orignally from Macedonia, but he moved to the U.S. to to complete a PhD with Ed Theriot at The University of Texas at Austin. His work there mainly centered on using phylogenetic comparative methods to understand the evolution of different diatom traits, like growth habit and cell size. Some of his PhD work focused on questions related to the marine–freshwater divide, which is the main focus of his current work in the lab. Every lab needs an R wiz, and now we have one. You can learn more about Teo here. [Google Scholar Profile]
Jennifer BealsGraduate student
Jennifer is a native of Pennsylvania, where she got her BS in Biology at Penn State. She then served as the Collection Manager of the diatom herbarium at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (Drexel University) for six years. She went on to complete her her MS degree with Matt Julius at St. Cloud State University, where she studied the phylogeny and systematics of eunotiod diatoms.
Kala DowneyGraduate student
Kala completed her undergraduate and MS degrees at Austin Peay State University, where she studied population structure in an endangered grass species. Kala began in fall 2016 and is exploring research topics related to population genetics in freshwater diatoms.
Anastasiia OnyshchenkoGraduate student
Anastasiia is a Fulbright Scholar from Ukraine. Her background is in molecular biology, but she is working with existing large diatom genomic datasets for her project.
Wilson GuilloryUndergraduate Student
Wilson is from Eureka Springs, Arkansas. He'll be completing a B.S. in Biology with Honors. Wilson's working on mitochondrial genome evolution in diatoms. Wilson earned a spot at the Field Museum's summer REU program in 2014 and the Smithsonian's REU program in 2015.
Jacob HarrisUndergraduate Student
Jake is a native of Northwest Arkansas. He started off in the lab by diligently photographing and measuring cells for some salinity experiments. He and Andy like discussing Serial.
Katy RoseUndergraduate student
Katy is an undergraduate Honors student who just recently started in the lab. She's currently working with Kala and Teo on a project focused on reconstructing large-scale patterns of salinity transitions in diatoms.
Rachel UngarUndergraduate student
Rachel is an undergraduate Honors student. She is a Biology major and Computer Science minor, so she's finding a project that will combine bench and computer work.