David Civitello 


Assistant Professor of Biology

PhD – Indiana University, 2013

BA – Colby College, 2006


Postdoctoral Fellows

Naima Starkloff

Ph.D. Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, State University of New York, Albany, 2020

B.A. Ecology & Evolution, Bennington College, 2015

My research interests lie in understanding the factors that determine the diversity of and interactions within biological communities, with a special interest in host-parasite interactions. For my Ph.D., I developed my own study system to investigate the diversity of immunogenetics and avian malaria parasites in a clade of North American songbirds. Thereafter, I spent a year as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Davidson College and continued to develop my teaching pedagogy rooted in biological rigor, active learning, and anti-oppressive classroom practices. As a postdoctoral researcher in the Civitello lab, I will be focusing on the spatial and temporal variation of Schistosoma species of human concern in Tanzanian snails. I am especially interested in how environmental gradients and interspecific interactions may impact transmission potential within this neglected tropical disease system. In my free time, I enjoy everything food-related, traveling, good friends, and hanging out with my cat Luna.


Stephanie Gutierrez

Ph.D. Biological Sciences, Purdue University, 2022

B.A. Biology, University of Texas at Arlington, 2015

Info coming soon!


Graduate Students

Ph.D. Class of 2017

Sandra Mendiola

B.S. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University

I am a PhD candidate in Emory’s Population Biology, Ecology, and Evolution program where I am co-advised by Drs. Nicole Gerardo and Dave Civitello. I am broadly interested in leveraging insects’ symbiotic microbes to control populations of insect pests and vectors in agricultural systems. My dissertation research explores the effects of symbioses on vector biology and its consequences for pathogen transmission at both the individual and population scale.

Kelsey Shaw 


B.S. in Biology and Evolutionary Anthropology, Duke University

D.V.M., Cornell University

After obtaining my veterinary degree, I spent some time in equine private practice in Northern California. However, I found myself continually dissatisfied with the unanswered questions I encountered in clinical medicine, and I decided to pursue a career in research. Generally, I am interested in host-parasite interactions across scales and eco-immunology. I am currently a third year PhD student in Population Biology, Ecology, and Evolution studying the impact of host traits and community composition on schistosome transmission. Outside of lab I enjoy running and hiking, especially with my two dogs, Kevin and Ben.

Ph.D. Class of 2018

KM Barnett 


B.S. in Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

I am a PhD student interested in disease ecology research that can inform evidence-based wildlife conservation policies. I am currently working on a project to assess if inducing acquired resistance to Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is a feasible and efficacious intervention for managing chytrid fungus outbreaks.

Lynda (LM) Bradley 


B.S. Biophysics and biochemistry, Oregon State University

I am interested in how to predictively model system-wide consequences of sudden ecological perturbations- my dissertation is on how freshwater host-parasite dynamics change following a resource pulse (using the snail-schistosome system). I like the challenge of merging theory and empirical data together to improve model forecasts. Outside the lab, I like to sew/needlework, run, and hang out with my crew.

Xorla Ocloo 


B.S. Integrative Biology-University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign

M.S. Ecology and Evolutionary Biology-University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

I am a PhD student interested in coupled human–environment systems. My interest is motivated by the need to improve food security, particularly in west African communities. My current research investigates the usage of aquatic plants as a biofertilizer for crops. I worked in the Cáceres Lab investigating the effects of zooplankton and habitat types on the abundance of mosquitoes, and also worked in the Cortés-Ortiz Lab exploring the evolutionary histories of howler monkeys and their parasitic pinworms. In my free time, I enjoy playing sports and traveling the world.


PhD Class of 2021

Nadia Raytselis

B.S. in Microbiology and Spanish, University of Massachusetts Amherst

I am a PhD student interested in how complex life cycle parasites move through ecosystems and impact ecosystem structure and function. My dissertation research focuses on the ecology of the Guinea worm parasite, a complex life cycle parasite. For my dissertation, I am investigating a potential alternative transmission pathway and assessing its relative importance to Guinea worm transmission. I employ both theoretical and empirical methods to explore this question. Outside the lab I enjoy doing art, traveling, food-related activities (cooking, baking, and eating!!), and hiking with my partner and our dog, Neva.


Mackenzie Hoogshagen


Info coming soon!


Lab Alumni

Aniruddha Belsare
Associate Scientist, 2021 – 2023
Site: Coming soon @ Auburn!

Rachel Hartman
Laboratory Manager, 2017 – 2022

Matthew Malishev
Postdoctoral Researcher, 2018 – 2020
Twitter: @darwinanddavis

Karena Nguyen
Postdoctoral Researcher, 2019 – 2021
Twitter: @Nguyen_4_Science

Daniel Desautels
PhD awardee, 2021