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Principal Investigator

 
Ana Caicedo

Ana L. Caicedo

Ana obtained her B.S. in Biology in 1996 at the Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. She left the lofty peaks of the Andes for the (flatter) environment of the Midwest U.S. to attend graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis; there she studied the population genetics of disease resistance genes in wild tomatoes and received her Ph.D. in 2003. During a postdoc at NC State, she carried out research on the evolutionary genomics of rice domestication and the population genetics of floral timing genes in Arabidopsis thaliana. Ana joined the UMass Biology faculty in 2006. Her current research interests include the genetic basis of adaptation, the genomics of plant domestication, and the population genetics of diversification within and between species (CV).

   

Postdoctoral Researchers

 

None presently! Contact Ana if you are interested.

   

Graduate Students

 
Ian Gillis

Ian Gillis

Ian is a fourth year Plant Biology grad student with a BS in plant biology from the University of Washington Seattle. As an undergraduate he studied and wrote a paper on a Camellia colonial fungus, Seuratia Millardetii. He then rested on these laurels for many seasons before returning to the exciting world of higher education. Hitching a trailer on his car, with his cat sitting shotgun, he set off into the sunrise to find out what New England had to offer. Ian’s westcoast charm and caffeine fueled intellect secured him a place at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and his interest in the processes driving evolution has brought him to the Caicedo lab. Ian’s specific interest is in how interactions between disparate organisms work and how they evolved.

 

Zhongyun

Zhongyun Huang

Zhongyun received her B.S. in biology from Fudan University in China in 2011, She worked on rice for two years when she was an undergraduate student. She left her crowded hometown, Shanghai, to study her beloved field of plant biology in the beautiful town of Amherst. Zhongyun rotated as a PB student in the Caicedo lab in Fall of 2011 and has now joined the lab for her dissertation research.  She is extremely interested in evolutionary history of crops and various topics involving genetics and evolution of plant, and will be focusing on red rice evolution in Asia.

 

   

Bioinformatics

 
Ned Young

Ned Young

Ned is a programmer and evolutionary biologist working on the data analysis of weedy rice.  He has a BA in Biology from University of Oregon.  He wrote his PhD on speciation and hybridization in Pacific Coast Iris while a student of Richard Harrison at Cornell.  He did a postdoctoral fellowship with Claude dePamphilis on the molecular evolution of non-photosynthetic and parasitic plants.  He has taught in TX, PA and MA.  He has also worked with Derek Lovley on the genomes, physiology and evolution of the electricogenic bacterium Geobacter.  He loves writing computer programs to study the evolution of genes and genomes.

   

Visitors

 

Jorge Rodriguez

Jorge Rodriguez

Jorge is a last semester student in Agricultural Science at the Universidad Nacional in Bogotá, Colombia. In Colombia he has carried out research on herbicide physiology, and in summer and fall of 2013, Jorge joined our lab to carry out his professional practice. During his stay in the lab he has helped Zhongyun with her research on weedy rice and has tried to get used to the decreasing temperatures in Massachusetts. Jorge enjoy playing drums and ‘congas’ for a salsa orchestra inhis free time.

   

Undergraduates

 

Katherine Day

Katherine Day

Katherine graduated from Bethlehem Central High School in Delmar, NY in 2010. She is now a senior studying Biology with an Anthropology minor. In the fall of 2012, she began working in the Caicedo lab to help Ian study the evolution of tomatoes. She is lucky to be a part of such a friendly and intelligent group. In her free time she enjoys baking and when she gets the chance, sneaking back to New York to play with her two dogs, Cooper and Cody.

Sara Goodwin

Sara Goodwin

Sara is a junior Biology major on the Pre-Med track and is considering adding a minor in Education. She graduated from Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park, NY and moved west to MA to study. Her accomplishments include earning a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and her Gold Award in Girl Scouts. She joined the research lab in the Fall of 2011 to help Ian with his research on tomato evolution.

Debbie Tschong

Debbie Tschong

Debbie was born in Dallas, Texas but mostly grew up in Seoul, South Korea. She moved around a lot but ended up in Massachusetts. Debbie iscurrently a junior on the pre-med track, pursuing a major in Biology and minors in Psychology and Spanish. She joined the research lab in the spring of 2013 to help Zhongyun in her research on weedy red rice. Debbie hope to become a pediatrician because she loves children, and in her free time, she likes to cook, dance, and read.

   

Technician

 
Sherin

Sherin Kanthi Perera

Sherin received her B.S. in Biology in 1987 at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. She has a Post Graduate Diploma in education too. For many years Sherin was a high school biology teacher in Sri Lanka. After immigrating to the U.S., Sherin volunteeered for a summer in the lab and got some hands on experience in rice phenotyping, DNA extraction, and challenging PCRs. Since then, she has been working in the lab as a techinician. Sherin's knowledge of rice growth and agriculture has proved to be a great resource for all, and her tasty Sri Lankan dishes are addictive.

 

   

Hall of Fame

 
Mike Reagon

Michael Reagon

Mike received a B.S. in Biology from Antioch College in 1995 and worked in the exciting field of hazardous waste removal for several years before returning to graduate school. He received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University in 2006 where he studied evolutionary consequences of crop–wild hybridization in sunflowers and rice.  As a postdoc in the Caicedo lab (2007-2010), Mike worked on adaptive evolution using weedy rice as a model system. He is now an assistant professor in the Department of Evolution Ecology and Organismal Biology at the Ohio State University in Lima.

Katie

Katie Hyma

Katie receieved her B.S. and M.S. in microbiology and molecular genetics from Michigan State University in 2004, where she spent time researching the population genetics of pathogenic E. coli. She received her PhD in Evolution, Ecology and Population Bology from Washington University in 2010, where she studied the domestication of the winemaking yeast S. cerevisiae. Katie was a postdoc in Ana Caicedo's lab 2011-2012 and investigated the evolution of adaptation and divergence in weedy rice using comparative genomics. She is now a postdoc at the Computational Biology Service Unit, Cornell University.

Colby Witherup

Colby Witherup

Colby Witherup was a first year PhD student in Plant Biology. She has a B.A. in Conservation from Northwestern University and an M.S. in Plant Biology and Conservation from Northwestern University and the Chicago Botanic Garden. Her previous research focused on the genetic diversity of jackfruit in Bangladesh, where she completed her fieldwork. She is broadly interested in the domestication process. Her rotation in the Caicedo lab focuses on flowering-time genes in weedy rice. In her free time, she enjoys playing music, traveling, and throwing the frisbee for her dog, Quiz.

Carrie Thurber

Carrie Thurber

Carrie received her B.S. in biology from Framingham State College in 2005 and her M.S. in biology from SUNY Buffalo in 2007. Her master’s thesis was based on the molecular genetics of Rubisco small subunit genes in Flaveria bidentis. Carrie graduated from the PB Graduate Program at UMass summer 2012, and her dissertation focused on the evolution of various weedy traits, including shattering, in weedy rice. Carrie is now pursuing a postdoc in Patrick Brown's lab at the University of Illinois.

Stephanie Craig

Stephanie Craig

Stephanie originally came to the Caicedo lab as an undergraduate to further explore her passion for genetics, and studied the effect of weed evolution on R gene diversity.  As an undergraduate, she received two Commonwealth College Honors Research Grants and was selected to be a part of the prestigious Junior Fellows Program her senior year. Stephanie then joined the lab as a PB Masters student, where she carried out some neat work on hybrid incompatibility genes in U.S. weedy rice. She defended her thesis in January 2013, and is now back on campus as a technician in Elizabeth Vierling's lab.

Greg DeIulio

Gregory DeIulio

Greg received his B.S. in Biochemistry from SUNY Albany in 2011, where he worked on B-cell immunology. He moved to Amherst from Schenectady New York and has now finished his first year as a PB PhD student.  Greg carried out his second rotation in the Caicedo lab on preparing Brachypodium distachyon samples for genome-wide genotyping and assessment of population structure. Greg is interested in plant pathogenecity and epigenetics and has now joined Li-Jun Ma’s lab.

 

Lauren

Lauren Bishop

Lauren is a recent graduate of UMass with a degree in Biology and a Psychology Minor. She joined the Caicedo lab in Spring 2010 because of her interests in plant biology and genetics research, and studied hybrid incompatibility in weedy rice plants. Lauren has now joined the Peace Corps and is setting off for new adventures in Bulgaria.

Rafaela

Rafaela Dos Santos

Rafaela was a Biology/Spanish major and Portuguese minor. She joined the Caicedo lab in summer of 2010 to further explore her interest for genetics. She ventured into the world of research by phenotyping and genotyping a set of mapping populations to identify loci underlying weedy traits in red rice. When not working at the lab, Rafaela volunteered at a dental office and worked as a Resident Assistant. Rafaela graduated in May 2012.

Nicole Eckart

Nicole Eckart

Nicole graduated in 2010 with departmental honors in Biology and a Spanish minor.  After a year researching animal behavior in spiders, Nicole joined the Caicedo lab her junior year to explore the diversity present in Brachypodium distachyon, a new model species for grasses.  She took a hiatus for one semester to study abroad in Accra, Ghana, but came back to the lab first as an HHMI summer intern, and then for her honor’s thesis.  Nicole is now attending Human Genetics doctoral program at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Neal Kalra

Neal Kalra

Neal majored in Biology and Anthropology at UMass. He spent a little over a year studying the effects of dam removal at various sites in New England at the "Northeast Instream Habitat Program" under Piotr Parasiewicz. During his year in the Caicedo lab, 2007-2008, he investigated tomato fruit evolution and wrangled with exciting PCR and seed germination issues.

Alberto Montano

Alberto Montano

 

 

Mario Moreira

After braving Ana’s Population Genetics course his senior year, Mario decided he couldn’t get enough of the subject and joined the lab for a semester of research. During his stint in the Caicedo lab in Spring of 2008 he learned about the joys and challenges of DNA sequence alignment and data management, while exploring the molecular basis of plant height variation in weedy and domesticated rice.

Justin

Justin Nicholatos

Justin was a Biology major and Japanese minor graduate of 2010. His great interest in evolution and genetics led him to join the Caicedo lab as a junior, where he explored relationships among colored-fruited tomato groups and dealt with troubleshooting PCRs. He enjoys science greatly, but is also an active musician. He spent the summer after graduation as an intern in the Biology Research and Development group at Iquum, a molecular diagnostics company, and is now a research assistant in the Manning lab at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Lauren Resnick

Lauren Resnick

Lauren graduated as Biology major with several honors in 2012. She joined the Caicedo lab in the fall of 2010 in hopes of learning more about population genetics and performing some hands-on analysis of evolution. She studied hybrid incompatibility in weedy rice plants using two characterized incompatibility loci. When not in Ana's lab, Lauren volunteered in an animal behavior lab, was an active member of several Biology-based and service learning-based clubs, and made sushi for money. Not at the same time, though. Lauren is now in a Masters Program for Urban Education at UMass Boston.

claudia

Claudia Rullman

Claudia obtained her B.S. in Natural Resources in 1986 from the School of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. Following extensive research-related and work experience in plant biology, organic agriculture, integrated pest management, marine ecology and aquaponics, she completed an M.S. in Plant Stress Physiology at the University of Vermont in 2003. Claudia worked as a technician in the Caicedo lab during much of 2007. Her career interests include phytoremediation, effects of anthropogenic pollutants on habitat quality, environmental restoration, marine and estuarine ecology.

Mona Salameh

Mona Salameh

Mona graduated with Latin, Commonwealth College, and departmental honors in Biology as an undergraduate in 2009. She played in the concert band at UMass and was a member of the university ski club. In her junior year, Mona received two HHMI Academic Year internships and one summer internship to carry out research on aromatic rice evolution in the Caicedo lab. In her senior year, Mona was selected to be a part of the prestigious Junior Fellows Program of the Life Sciences program for undergraduate researchers to continue her research in the lab. Mona is now be attending Tufts University School of Dental Medicine where she hopes to attain a DMD/PhD.

Daniela

Daniela Schmieder

Daniela is a native of Germany, who spent a chock-full year as an exchange student at UMass. Her research experience has ranged from subjects such as plant physiology to animal behavior, and organisms such as rats and A. thaliana, to turtles and (virtually) rice. During her stint in the lab in 2007, Daniela aligned and edited sequences of rice resistance genes. Now Daniela is working towards her PhD at the Max-Planck Institute in Seewiesen, Germany, studying how European horseshoe bats cope with vegetation.

 

Sara Weil

Sara Weil