Current Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Hopi HoekstraHopi E. Hoekstra

 

Email: hoekstra@oeb.harvard.edu

 

Twitter: @hopihoekstra

 

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Hopi received her B.A. in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley. She completed her Ph.D. in 2000 as a Howard Hughes Predoctoral Fellow at the University of Washington. She then moved to the University of Arizona as a NIH Postdoctoral Fellow where she studied the genetic basis of adaptive melanism in pocket mice. In 2003, she became an Assistant Professor at UC San Diego. Three years later, she moved to Harvard University, where she is the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology in the Department of Organismic & Evolutionary Biology and the Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology as well as the Curator of Mammals at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. She is broadly interested in the genetic basis of adaptation and speciation in vertebrates.

 

 

Administrative Assistant

Nikki HughesNikki Hughes

 

Email: nhughes@fas.harvard.edu

 

Nikki capably manages the administrative and logistical side of running the lab, coordinating paperwork and purchasing, and generally keeping things running smoothly in the lab.

 

 

 

 

Lab Manager

Kyle TurnerKyle Turner

 

Email: kyleturner@fas.harvard.edu

 

Kyle received his B.Sc. at the University of Toronto, completing honors theses with Art Weis and Megan Frederickson. For his M.Sc., he stayed on in the Frederickson Lab, studying how diet and a protein kinase affected cooperation between plant-defending ants and their hosts. After graduation, Kyle worked in the lab of Naomi Pierce at Harvard, as research assistant to Sarah Kocher, a Hoekstra Lab postdoc. Now, Kyle works as an assistant to students and postdocs in the Hoekstra Lab, and facilitates lab projects.

 

 

Postdoctoral Researchers

Andres Bendesky and Julio BendeskyAndrés Bendesky

 

Email: bendesky@fas.harvard.edu

 

Twitter: @bendesky

 

Andrés Bendesky received his M.D. from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and then completed his Ph.D. in Cori Bargmann’s laboratory at The Rockefeller University in New York, where he studied the genetics of social behavior in nematodes. He joined the lab in January of 2012. Andrés is interested in the genetic and neural basis of individuality, and is using Peromyscus with different social systems as a model. He is currently funded by a Helen Hay Whitney Postdoctoral Fellowship.

 

Heidi FisherHeidi S. Fisher

 

Email: hfisher@oeb.harvard.edu

 

Twitter: @Heidi_S_Fisher

 

Website

 

Heidi received her B.S. and M.Sc. from the University of California, San Diego working on female mating behavior in the pygmy loris. She then earned her Ph.D. from Boston University, where she studied the evolution of sexual communication and reproductive isolating mechanisms in swordtail fish as a Palmer-McLeod Graduate Fellow. Currently, Heidi is exploring how sexual selection acts after mating has occurred in terms of sperm competition and cooperation in Peromyscus mice. Her postdoctoral research, funded by a NIH NRSA Fellowship, explores the underlying genetic basis of traits that confer a reproductive advantage in a competitive environment and how these traits are shaped by selection.

 

PeromyscusAdam Freedman

 

Email: afreedman@oeb.harvard.edu

 

Website

 

Adam Freedman received his Ph.D. with Tom Smith at the University of California (Los Angeles), where he studied mechanisms of diversification in African rainforest skinks, and the evolutionary consequences of deforestation, using a combination of genetic, morphological, and remotely sensed environmental data. This work was supported by Fulbright and EPA STAR fellowships. Adam remained at UCLA on an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in Bioinformatics. Working with Drs. John Novembre and Robert Wayne, he used high coverage next-generation sequencing data from domestic and wild canid species to investigate demography and natural selection during domestication of dogs from wolves. He joined the Hoekstra and Losos labs in May 2012, where he is integrating RNA-Seq and phenotypic data from multiple species of Anolis lizards to uncover the genetic basis of convergence in dewlap coloration patterns.

 

PeromyscusCaroline Hu

 

Email: carolinehu@fas.harvard.edu

 

Caroline received her B.S. from Brown University in 2006. She began studying the molecular and cellular basis of behavior in the context of the developing frog brain while pursuing her M.S. at the University of Michigan. She earned her Ph.D. in Biology with Russell Fernald at Stanford University as a Stanford Graduate Fellow in 2014. For her doctoral research, Caroline investigated the neural mechanisms underlying behavioral plasticity within a single fish species. In the Hoekstra lab, Caroline will use the Peromyscus model to ask how molecular differences between separate species produce differences in brain and behavior, with a particular focus on burrowing behavior.

 

Sarah KocherSarah Kocher

 

Email: skocher@gmail.com

 

Website

 

Sarah graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2005 with a BS in Integrative Biology. She earned her PhD in Genetics from North Carolina State University in 2009. For her dissertation, she examined the molecular and physiological mechanisms underlying variation in honeybee queen pheromone production and response. This work was supported by NIH, Sigma Xi, an NSF DDIG, and was awarded the Keller Award for Excellence in Doctoral Dissertation Research. In 2010, she joined the Hoekstra and Pierce Labs, where she is using evolutionary and population genomic tools to study the genetic underpinnings of eusociality in halictid bees. Sarah currently holds an FQEB Postdoctoral Fellowship and has been awarded two Putnam Expedition grants.

 

Sarah KocherJean-Marc Lassance

 

Email: lassance@fas.harvard.edu

 

Twitter: @lassancejm

 

Jean-Marc obtained his M.S. in Bioengineering from the Agricultural University of Gembloux in Belgium in 2004. He completed his Ph.D. in Ecology, which won the Best Thesis Prize in the Faculty of Natural Sciences, at Lund University (Sweden) in 2010. In his dissertation research, he studied the molecular basis of pheromone production and reception in the European corn borer moth, a model to study speciation by means of pheromone divergence. His research interests are centred on understanding the role of olfaction in speciation. Here, Jean-Marc exploits the current knowledge of the molecular basis of mouse olfaction to study pheromone reception in wild populations of deer mice. He is jointly supervised by Catherine Dulac. He is a Belgian American Educational Foundation (BAEF) Fellow and is funded by an EMBO and a HFSP Postdoctoral Fellowship.

 

Ricardo MallarinoRicardo Mallarino

 

Email: rmallarino@oeb.harvard.edu

 

Ricardo received his B.Sc. from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia and he recently completed his PhD at Harvard University. In his dissertation he combined gene expression analysis of natural bird populations, mathematical analysis of shapes, and functional tests in chick embryos to understand the molecular and developmental mechanisms patterning different craniofacial morphology in birds. Ricardo joined the lab to pursue his interest in evolutionary-developmental biology. For his project, he combines  developmental genetics and genomic approaches to study pigmentation patterns in mammals. Ricardo is also a finalist for the Life Sciences Resarch Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship.

 

 

Graduate Students

FelixFelix Baier

 

Email: fbaier@fas.harvard.edu

Twitter: @felix_baier

 

Felix received undergraduate degrees in biology (2011) and philosophy (2013) from the University of Munich in Germany, and a Master's degree from Columbia University (2012). Before joining the Hoekstra Lab in 2014, he investigated the molecular basis and evolution of mosquito preference for humans with Leslie Vosshall at Rockefeller University. He also studied the genetic basis of C. elegans aggregation behavior with Mario de Bono at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in England. Felix is also an avid herpetologist, and has worked extensively on the amphibians and reptiles of Cyprus. In the Hoekstra Lab, he is interested in the molecular basis and evolution of behavioral variation in Peromyscus, with a particular focus on aggression. Felix received Harvard's Herchel Smith Graduate Fellowship. 

 

Nicole BedfordNicole Bedford

 

Email: bedford@oeb.harvard.edu

Twitter: @nlbedford

 

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Nicole received her B.Sc. in Marine Biology from the University of British Columbia in 2010. There, she completed her honours thesis with Dolph Schluter examining the genetic basis of ecological traits under divergent selection in threespine stickleback. In collaboration with Katie Peichel and colleagues, she also worked to identify regions of the genome responsible for behaviours leading to reproductive isolation in stickleback species pairs. After graduation, she worked with David Reznick and others investigating eco-evolutionary feedbacks in Trinidadian guppies. Nicole is excited to be joining the Hoekstra Lab in the Fall 2012 where she hopes to study the genetics of adaptation and speciation in Peromyscus. Nicole was awarded Harvard's James Mills Peirce Fellowship. 

 

Jake GableJake Gable

 

Email: jgable@fhcrc.org

 

Jake received his BS in Zoology from Washington State University. As an undergraduate, he worked with Dr. William Snyder studying biodiversity in ecosystem functioning, with a focus on insect predator diversity. After graduating, Jake worked with Dr. Harmit Malik at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. In the Malik lab, Jake studied the molecular evolution of retroelement and viral restriction factors in primates with an emphasis on how pathogens have shaped the evolution of host restriction factors like APOBEC3A. In the Hoekstra lab, Jake hopes to study the genetics of adaptation and the evolution of behavior. 

 

Emily HagerEmily Hager

 

Email: ehager@fas.harvard.edu

 

Emily graduated from Swarthmore College in 2010, with a degree in physics and a strong interest in biology. Before coming to Harvard, she worked with Elly Nedivi at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory. There, she studied CPG2, an activity-regulated gene involved in the modulation of synaptic strength. Emily joined the lab in 2014. She received Harvard's Theodore H. Ashford Graduate Fellowship in the Sciences. 

 

Emily Jacobs-PalmerEmily Jacobs-Palmer

 

Email: ejacobspalmer@oeb.harvard.edu

 

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Emily graduated with a degree in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry from Wesleyan University, where she studied the kinetics of MutS, a DNA repair enzyme.  A semester in Tanzania conducting avian diversity surveys affirmed her enthusiasm for ecology and evolutionary biology.  Since graduating in 2006, Emily has worked in the lab of Dr. Stephen Palumbi at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station. She studied a genetic cline in the acorn barnacle, Balanus glandula, and developed a novel array technology for the detection of single nucleotide polymorphisms. Emily joined the lab in 2008 with a NSF Predoctoral Fellowship.  She is currently working on two projects, the genetic basis of: (1) color adaptation in locally adapted mouse populations, and (2) sperm competition between two sister species with different mating systems. 

 

Evan KingsleyEvan P. Kingsley

 

Email: ekingsley@oeb.harvard.edu

 

Evan received his Biology degree at the University of Rochester in NY. Following graduation, he spent a year working in David Lambert's Lab, studying the cellular mechanisms underlying animal development in a mollusc system, and published his work in Evolution and Development. Evan is interested in the evolution of animal development and connecting microevolutionary processes to interspecific variation. Evan is focusing on the developmental, genetic and molecular basis of morphological variation in natural populations. Specifically he is interested in understanding whether convergent adaptive phenotypes are generated by similar or different genetic mechanisms. Evan recently received an ASM Grants-in-Aid Award and a Honorable Mention NSF Graduate Fellowship.

 

Caitlin Lewarch

 

Email: clewarch@fas.harvard.edu

 

Caitlin graduated from Harvard College in 2010 with an AB in Human Evolutionary Biology. As an undergraduate in Peter Ellison's laboratory she investigated the effects of early life environment on adult metabolism and did fieldwork in the Gambia. She later conducted research on the effects of nutrient restriction on gene expression in C. elegans and the influence of a postnatal stress on behavior in laboratory mice. In the Hoekstra lab she plans to study nest-building behavior in two species of Peromyscus with different mating systems.

 

Hillery C. Metz

 

Email: hmetz@oeb.harvard.edu

 

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Hillery graduated summa cum laude in 2006, with a dual degree in Biology and Microbiology from the University of Idaho. As an undergraduate, she studied the neurobiology of working memory in Kathy Magnusson's lab. After graduating, she worked for two years in Susan Wray's lab at the National Institutes of Health, where she studied the development and migration of GnRH cells, neurons that control reproduction in vertebrates. Hillery joined the lab in 2009 with a NSF Predoctoral Fellowship and is currently working on understanding the neurobiological basis of burrowing behavior in Peromyscus. She was recently awarded Chapman Research funds and a NSF Doctoral Dissertation Grant.

 

PavitraMuralidharPavitra Muralidhar

 

Email: pavitra451@gmail.com

 

Pavitra received her BA in Biology from Cornell University, where she completed an honors thesis on amphibian mating systems in the Zamudio Lab. She then went to Uppsala University in Sweden for a year on a Fulbright fellowship to join the Höglund lab, and work on a project examining the population genomics of Scandinavian water vole populations. Pavitra is broadly interested in the intersection between sexual and natural selection, along with the role of kinship and relatedness in mate choice. Pavitra was awarded Harvard's James Mills Peirce Fellowship.