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.

Scott Villa
NIH-FIRST Postdoctoral Fellow

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

Anna Zelaya
NIH-FIRST Postdoctoral Fellow

Working with Chris Beck on NSF-Funded Bean Beetle Microbiome Research Project

I am interested in how environmental factors affect microbial diversity and function. I am also interested in STEM education and the factors that promote or inhibit student success in STEM.

Laura Avila
NIH-FIRST Postdoctoral Fellow

Working with Berry Brosi (University of Washington), I am interested in how antibiotics impact bee behavior and pollinator services, and whether observed effects are due to perturbation of the insects' microbiomes. 

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.

Jason Chen
Graduate Student

Co-advisor: Nic Vega

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

Jacoby Robinson
Rotating Graduate Student

I am interested in host-parasite interactions and dynamics spanning the scale from organismal to population levels.


  • Seth Barribeau, post-doc | faculty at the University of Liverpool
  • Lynn Griffin, post-doc
  • Jen Kovacs, post-doc | associate professor at Agnes Scott College
  • Alice Laughton, post-doc | project manager for Mission: Invertebrate
  • Miguel Reyes, post-doc | lecturer at Emory University
  • Erika Diaz-Almeyda, post-doc | assistant professor at New College of Florida
  • Hassan Salem, post-doc | Max Planck Research Group Leader
  • Caitlin Conn, post-doc | assistant professor at Berry College
  • Ben Parker, graduate student | assistant professor at the University of Tennessee
  • Alex Chang, graduate student
  • Nelle Couret, graduate student | assistant professor at the University of Rhode Island
  • Justine Garcia, graduate student | assistant professor at New Mexico Highlands University
  • Wen-Hao Tan, graduate student | bioinformatician at ACT Genomics in Taiwan
  • Bas ter Braak, visiting Masters student
  • Tom de Man, visiting Masters student | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Yuliana Christopher, visiting graduate student from Panama
  • Quimi Vidaurre Montoya, visiting graduate student from Brazil
  • Nancy Lowe, technician | director of symbASA
  • Boran Altincicek, visiting scientist
  • Stephanie Birnbaum, technician | USDA postdoc with Ann Tate at Vanderbilt University
  • Tarik Acevedo-Gonzalez, technician | graduate student at Penn State
  • Tiffani Alcaide, technician
  • Kim Hoang, graduate student | NSF postdoctoral fellow with Kayla King and Oxford University
  • Erica Harris, graduate student | postdoc with Jen Kovacs at Agnes Scott College