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Boughman, Janette

Janette Boughman

Professor - Tenure System
 (517) 353-8636

There are somewhere between 2 and 10 million living species on earth – possibly more. What processes create this incredible diversity? The deep and difficult question of how new species form has challenged biologists for a long time. This question is at the heart of my research program. A unifying theme of my work is to understand how an organisms’ behavior generates selection that results in diversification, and how diverse behavior itself evolves under the influence of multiple forms of selection. Behavioral traits are thus the primary phenotypes of interest, but can also be the agents of evolutionary change.

Braasch, Ingo

Ingo Braasch

Assistant Professor - Tenure System
(517) 432-3484

The Braasch Lab addresses fundamental questions about the genomic and developmental basis of major transitions during the course of vertebrate evolution. We study genomic and morphological novelties in vertebrates at the levels of genome structure, gene family dynamics, and gene regulation and combine comparative genomics with analyses of molecular evolution and developmental genetic approaches using zebrafish (Danio rerio), spotted gar (Lepisosteus oculatus) and other fishes as model systems.

Bradburd, Gideon

Gideon Bradburd

Assistant Professor - Tenure System
How are patterns of genetic variation partitioned across space and through time, and what can we learn about the processes that are generating those patterns?  These questions motivate research in the Bradburd Lab into the causes and consequences of genetic variation, as well as into the mechanisms that explain the generation and maintenance of so much diversity.  We address them from a spatial angle, collecting samples, generating sequence data, and developing statistical methods to learn about natural history and evolutionary biology in a variety of empirical systems.
Eisthen, Heather

Heather Eisthen

Professor - Tenure System
(517) 353-1953


Our research concerns the causes of evolutionary changes in the nervous system and the behavioral consequences of these changes. We are focusing on evolution and detection of pheromones in salamanders.


Fitzpatrick, Sarah W

Sarah Fitzpatrick

Assistant Professor - Tenure System

I am broadly interested in evolution, ecology, and conservation of natural populations. Research in my lab combines genomic tools, mark-recapture methods, and experiments to study how interactions between gene flow, drift, and selection affect population dynamics and diversity patterns. I am especially interested in gaining a mechanistic understanding of genetic rescue, which is the increase in population growth caused by the infusion of new genetic variation, and in implementing this tool in conservation and management. 

Gallant, Jason

Jason Gallant

Associate - Tenure System
(517) 884-7756

We are interested in the origin and diversification of novel phenotypic and behavioral traits involved in animal communication signals, as they relate to signal diversity, mate choice, and speciation.  Our model system of choice is the mormyrid electric fish, which enables a highly integrative approach to these questions, combining behavior, physiology, developmental biology, population genetics, and genomes.

Ganz, Julia

Julia Ganz

Assistant Professor - Tenure System
(517) 432-0733

The goal of our research is to understand how stem cells generate a diverse and complex nervous system using zebrafish as a model system. My laboratory addresses this question focusing on the largest part of the peripheral nervous system – the enteric nervous system (ENS). Our research aims to answer the fundamental question of how the generation of ENS cell lineages is regulated during normal development, in situations that model human disease, and under regenerating conditions. We will not only uncover cellular, genetic, and molecular mechanisms underlying cell fate determination but also contribute to developing therapeutic approaches using stem cells to repair ENS diseases.

Hamilton, Stephen

Stephen Hamilton

Professor - Tenure System
(269) 671-2231

My principal research interests involve ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry, with particular attention to aquatic environments and the movement of water through landscapes. I am especially interested in running waters, wetlands and floodplains because they represent an interface between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems that are often biologically diverse and productive. I also like to consider ecosystem processes at the landscape or watershed scale, and I prefer to do research that contributes to our understanding of environmental problems or improves our ability to manage ecosystems. In recent years I have increasingly conducted research on the agricultural ecology and the sustainability of crop production for food and biofuel.

Heath-Heckman, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Heath-Heckman

Assistant Professor - Tenure System
Bacterial symbioses are nearly ubiquitous in the animals, and can be a driving force behind host evolution and development.  My lab studies the genetic, cellular, and molecular basis of beneficial host-microbe interactions using Euprymna scolopes, the Hawaiian bobtail squid, and its luminous symbiont Vibrio fischeri as a model system. In addition, my lab has a great interest in EvoDevo in the Spiralia, including in annelids such as leeches and the cephalopod molluscs. 
Holekamp, Kay

Kay Holekamp

University Distinguished Professor - Tenure System; Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior Program Director
(517) 432-3691

Research in my laboratory investigates how social, ecological, and endocrine variables interact during an individual`s early development to influence its subsequent behavior and its reproductive success as an adult. 

Lenski, Richard

Richard Lenski

John Hannah Distinguished Professor of Microbial Ecology - Tenure System
(517) 884-5397
Richard Lenski and his group study the dynamics of phenotypic and genomic evolution in bacteria, viruses, and self-replicating computer programs. Their work includes the famous long-term evolution experiment with E. coli bacteria, which has been running for over 25 years and 60,000 generations. 
Litchman, Elena

Elena Litchman

MSU Foundation Professor  - Tenure System
(269) 671-2338
My lab investigates community ecology of marine and freshwater algae and cyanobacteria and their ecological and evolutionary responses to global change. We use field observations from lakes to the ocean, laboratory experiments and mathematical models to answer diverse questions of fundamental and applied importance, such as how marine phytoplankton adapt to rising temperatures, what determines algal biodiversity, how global change affects harmful algal blooms and how we can use phytoplankton communities for algal biofuels and other bioproducts. We also study community interactions, including competition and mutualism, in other microbes, such as bacteria, both in aquatic and host-associated (gut) environments. 
Meek, Mariah

Mariah Meek

Assistant Professor - Tenure System
(517) 353-5478

Work in the Meek lab aims to understand the interactions among molecular ecology, population health and persistence, anthropogenic change, and trait variation, with an emphasis on aquatic systems. Example research projects include examining population differentiation in Chinook salmon using RAD-seq, determining the molecular processes that control steelhead life history trait variation, such as the propensity to migrate, and using next-generation sequencing to understand the interactions between local adaptation and climate change in cold-water fishes.  Our lab actively collaborates with resource managers and agency biologists to ensure our work informs management and conservation decisions. 

Ostrom, Nathaniel

Nathaniel Ostrom

Professor - Tenure System
(517) 355-4661
My research focuses on the application of stable isotopes and other approaches for understanding the biogeochemical cycling of carbon and nitrogen in a variety of ecosystems. Current research projects include: (1) understanding novel nitrogen cycling pathways in Lake Vida, Antarctica, (2) the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on hypoxia in the northern Gulf of Mexico, (3) application of the isotopomers of nitrous oxide to evaluate the origins of this greenhouse gas and (4) instrument development to enable real-time and in situ stable isotope measurements.
Scribner, Kim

Kim Scribner

Professor  - Tenure System
(517) 353-3288
I am an evolutionary ecologist with interests in population genetics, life history, demography, and behavior. Research in my lab involves applications of molecular genetic markers and evolutionary theory to examine questions in ecological genetics and conservation biology including levels of gene flow through heterogeneous landscapes, evolution or life history traits in changing environments, effects of environmental heterogeneity and mating systems on variance in reproductive success, and intra-specific and comparative phylogeography. Student research emphasizes inter-disciplinary training in the field and laboratory in population and behavioral ecology, population genetics, and evolutionary biology. Emphasis is placed on populations of management and conservation concern.
Smale, Laura

Laura Smale

Professor - Tenure System
(517) 432-1632
Our research focuses on how the structure and function of the brain have changed at evolutionary transitions from one temporal niche to another, such as when animals that are most active at night have evolved from ones that are most active during the day. Some of this work is focused on how the size and shape of brain structures involved in sensory processing have changed, while other projects focus on the neural mechanisms that actually produce the rhythms.
Smith, James

James Smith

Professor - Tenure System
(517) 353-3939
Molecular phylogenetics and evolution in plant-insect interactions; Evolution education.
Zipkin, Elise

Elise Zipkin

Associate Professor - Tenure System
(517) 884-8039
Research in my Quantitative Ecology Lab aims to understand how habitat and climate influence the distribution and abundance of species. To do this, we develop mathematical and statistical models to study the demographics of populations and communities.

Faculty Recruiting Graduate Students

Below is a list of faculty members who recruit graduate students in the Department of Integrative Biology at Michigan State University.