Nicole Gerardo
Principal Investigator

I am interested in how ecological and evolutionary dynamics shape species interactions. We utilize a range of systems in our research, from fungal pathogens found in ant gardens to nematodes and bacteria that protect them from environmental stress. 

Joselyne Chavez
Research Specialist
Erik Edwards
Greenhouse Manager
Aileen Berasategui
German Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow

I am interested on the chemical ecology of symbiotic interactions. Currently, I am focusing on the chemistry of host-parasite specificity.

Caitlin Conn
NSF Postdoctoral Fellow

I study the genetic basis of parasitism using the attine ant/fungal cultivar/mycoparasitic Escovopsis system as a model.

Hassan Salem
Humboldt Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow

Evolutionary genomics of herbivore-microbe interactions. Beetles, ants and their microbial milieus.

Scott Villa
NIH-FIRST Postdoctoral Fellow

I am interested in how symbiotic interactions influence the mating behavior and reproductive compatibility of their hosts.

Erica Harris
NSF-GRFP Graduate Student

Co-advisor: Jaap de Roode

I am interested in how environmental factors mediate host-parasite interactions and uses monarch butterflies to study how host diet and gut microbial communities mediate disease resistance.

Kim Hoang
NSF-GRFP Graduate Student

Co-advisor: Levi Morran

How do symbioses evolve? Experimental evolution with C. elegans and B. subtilis.

Sandra Mendiola
NSF-GRFP Graduate Student

Co-advisor: Dave Civitello

The use of symbionts to disrupt the transmission of vector-borne pathogens.

Kayla Stoy
NSF-GRFP Graduate Student

Co-advisor: Levi Morran

Role of horizontal transmission, sex, and gene flow on the evolution and maintenance of mutualisms. Squash bugs and Burkholderia. C. elegans.

Wen-Hao Tan
Graduate Student

co-advisor: Jaap de Roode

I’m interested in the role of immunity and milkweeds on monarch caterpillar resistance against a parasite, and evolution of monarch immune genes.

Jason Chen
Rotating Graduate Student

Microbial interactions, evolution and maintenance of symbioses, insect ecology.

Quimi Vidaurre Montoya
Visiting Graduate Student

I am interested in the taxonomy and systematics of fungi and how these microorganisms mold its lifestyle during the evolution and the symbiosis with other organisms.

Undergraduate Students
Allis Barker
Chris Bartelt
Caroline Bauchiero
Ali Buyum
Heidi Choi
Tylor Lee
Fredrick Leon
Kino Maravillas
Cameron Wynn

High School Volunteers
Harrison Katz


  • Seth Barribeau, post-doc | faculty at the University of Liverpool
  • Lynn Griffin, post-doc
  • Jen Kovacs, post-doc | associate professor at Spelman College
  • Alice Laughton, post-doc | project manager for Mission: Invertebrate
  • Miguel Reyes, post-doc | assistant professor at Clayton State University
  • Erika Diaz-Almeyda, post-doc | assistant professor at New College of Florida
  • Alex Chang, graduate student
  • Nelle Couret, graduate student | assistant professor at the University of Rhode Island
  • Justine Garcia, graduate student | post-doc with Joan Strassmann and Dave Queller at Washington University
  • Ben Parker, graduate student | assistant professor at the University of Tennessee
  • Yuliana Christopher, visiting graduate student from Panama
  • Tom de Man, visiting Masters student | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Bas ter Braak, visiting Masters student
  • Stephanie Birnbaum, technician | graduate student at Vanderbilt University
  • Tarik Acevedo-Gonzalez, technician | graduate student at Penn State
  • Tiffani Alcaide, technician
  • Nancy Lowe, technician | director of symbASA
  • Boran Altincicek, visiting scientist