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Past Lab Members


Olivia Grace WeeksOlivia Grace Weeks




Olivia was an undergraduate in the department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. With funding from Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology, Olivia completed her senior thesis on dental development in the American Alligator, and received a Hoopes Prize for her work. By surveying the expression patterns of genes necessary for tooth development, shewas able to characterize the process of tooth organogenesis in both first generation and replacement teeth. Her studies of crocodilian dental development advance our understanding of the diversity of dental development programs employed across the amniote lineages. Further, the evolutionary relatedness of crocodilians and modern birds makes the crocodilian studies particularly important for understanding the evolution of tooth loss in avian lineages.

Joseph BrancaleJoseph Brancale



From Thom Sanger's homepage, 2012-13: "Joe is the Abzhanov lab math, computer, and computation whiz kid, and has contributed to my work on skull integration of the anole skull."

Graduate Students

Ricardo MallarinoRicardo Mallarino




Ricardo graduated 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.


Jennifer GeeJennifer Gee


While at Harvard, Jennifer Gee focused her research on a species of Darwin’s finches called the warbler finch, comparing it with a relative called the bananaquit. Additional field­work in the Galápagos and Barbados allowed her to study beak development. Gee also conducted experiments with the Java finch at the Concord Field Station. She is currently the director of the James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve. Source: University of California Natural Reserve System


Andrew GehrkeAndrew R. Gehrke


Currently in Neil Shubin's lab at University of Chicago, Andrew's research involves a combination of model and non-model systems to study the regulatory architecture underlying appendage evolution. Currently, I am using zebrafish transgenics to screen for enhancers that may be involved in both fin and limb evolution.



Research Associates

Céline ClabautCéline Clabaut




Céline is currently a lab manager for Dr. Hopi Hoesktra's laboratory.

Sarah KocherWinston Kuo


Craniofacial abnormalities are some of the most common structural birth defects that are often associated with developmental disabilities, abnormalities to brain maturation, hearing loss, functional problems related to breathing, eating, and speech. My research focuses on roles of microRNAs in craniofacial development in general and in skull development in particular.




Undergraduate Students

Susan SeavSusan Siev


Harvard University, Molecular and Cell Biology ’12. Susan studied the evolution and development of sexual dimorphism in the anole skull. She has been integral to the development of molecular and experimental laboratory protocols that we are using in the Abzhanov lab.


Susan SeavZane Wruble


Harvard University, Molecular and Cell Biology ’11. Scientific Outreach Coordinator at New York Genome Center