Aeddon Mckaba

I am interested in researching the genetic and evolutionary factors that determine the morphology and physical properties of diatom frustules. Diatoms have always fascinated me with their elaborate and complex shapes, and I am curious to better understand the frustule as an adaptation. I am additionally curious to study the composition and molecular structure of the frustule, and how the diatom is able to mediate the biomineralization of such complex shapes.

      Irene Lai

      Irene is a Global Disease Biology major and intends to become a pediatric nurse in the future. Her project is focused on the environmental factors and moon jellyfish’s mechanism in repairing external damage. She is most excited to learn about techniques and observe the lifecycle that makes these animals so unique.

          Zayna Siddiqi

          I am fascinated by the discovery of genomic linkages between ostensibly unrelated organisms – far-flung, millions of years apart – yet an evolutionary thread of inheritance seems to run through them. And on the other hand, there are several examples of morphological similarities belying considerable genetic disparity – the so-called cryptic species.

          I am most interested in learning the skills and techniques used by evolutionary biologists and paleobiologists to trace back these hidden and often tenuous connections – between genetics, physiological and morphological traits, and the environment – to further our understanding of life.

              Tiezheng Fan

              My research interests lie in the processes and mechanisms of how organisms adapt to their changing environments. I am interested in microevolutionary aspects of adaptation where specific traits are favored or selected against as a result of various selection forces, and the macroevolutionary aspects in which new species are formed and others go extinct.

                  Rakhay Burtzlaff

                  My research is focused on the effect of environmental factors on the physiology of moon jellyfish. Specifically, the process of reverse-development, which allows the jellyfish to go back on it’s lifecycle to repair damage. My goal is to understand the mechanisms of organisms with ancient body plans through observation of external structures, to eventually study the genetic factors that make them that way.

                      Maddie Albert

                      I am a fourth-year undergraduate student currently working towards a B.S. in Global Disease Biology here at UC Davis. My interests include comparative biology, molecular evolution, and marine biology. I am extremely interested in learning about the interdependencies between organisms and the environment, specifically relating to climate change and a species’ evolutionary biology. I have always had a deep fascination (obsession) with cnidarian species and their biology. I am super excited to be studying these critters in the lab this year!

                          John LaRue

                          One of the most interesting questions in Evolutionary Biology is how changes in DNA sequence can lead to the evolution of entirely new morphological structures and body plans. I’m interested in the patterns and processes of molecular evolution that drive the morphological diversity we see in the biosphere and in the fossil record. I want to investigate the relative roles of phylogenetic constraints, gene regulation, and gene duplication in the evolution of morphological novelties. To answer these questions, I intend to integrate developmental experiments with comparative genomic and phylogenetic analyses in Cnidaria. I also maintain a general interest in the evolution of animal multicellularity and the role of regeneration in Cnidarian development.

                              Ismael Acedo

                              I am interested in using bioinformatics to interpret sequencing data and understand what lies hidden in a genome. I am particularly interested in metagenomes/microbiomes.

                                  Jashanpreet Khaira

                                  I’m a 4th year undergrad student majoring in Biological Sciences. I’m interested in research involving genes and evolution in the context of paleobiology. My academic goals include finishing my BS degree and pursuing medical education in the future.

                                      Jacob Lipovac

                                      I’m a transfer student from Butte College, up in northern California near my hometown of Paradise. When I first started school, I rapidly became involved with and amazed by all things biology, a fascination that has never faded! I am particularly interested in studying the nervous system with an emphasis (obsession?) on questions about the biological basis of consciousness. I am thrilled to be learning lots, contributing to research, and taking care of the animals in Dr. Gold’s lab as I pursue my Neurobiology-focused degree. I’m also planning to apply to MD (and probably a few MD-PhD) programs in the upcoming cycle, so stay tuned for the next step in the adventure!