Michael Desai
Principal Investigator

Jenn Thomson
Administrative Assistant

Jenn keeps the lab running.

Sergey Kryazhimskiy
Postdoctoral Fellow

Sergey received his B.A. in Mathematical Physics from Moscow State University in 2003, working with Valetin Butuzov.  He did his graduate work with Simon Levin at Princeton University, and received his Ph. D. in 2008.  He then moved to Penn as a postdoctoral fellow with Joshua Plotkin, before joining the Desai lab in September 2010.  He is broadly interested in understanding how microbes evolve. This includes analysis of sequence data from viral populations in nature, theoretical investigations in population genetics and in the theory of adaptation, as well as, more recently, experimental evolution in yeast.

Michael McDonald
Postdoctoral Fellow

Mike received his B.S. in Genetics from the University of Otago in 2001, and his MSc from the University of Otago in 2003. He began his Doctoral work with Paul Rainey in 2005, receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Auckland and Massey University in November 2009. He did an initial postdoc with Jun-Yi Leu at Academia Sinica in Taiwan and joined the Desai Lab in April 2012. Mike's research focuses upon the role of mutation in evolutionary processes, such as the evolution and consequences of the mutator phenotype, the effects of DNA sequence context upon mutation rates, the distribution of the fitness effects of mutations, and the influence of mutation and genetic architecture upon evolutionary trajectories.

J. David van Dyken
Postdoctoral Fellow

David got his B.S. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Psychology from the University of Arizona in 2002, and did his Ph.D. with Michael Wade and Greg Velicer at the University of Indiana. After getting his degree in 2011, he went to UBC to work with Michael Whitlock for a year before joining the Desai lab in the fall of 2012 as an NSF postdoctoral fellow under their program on the "Intersection of Biology with Mathematics and Physics". He is using experimental evolution in budding yeast to address problems at the interface between ecology and evolution.

Lauren Nicolaisen
Graduate student in Physics

Lauren received her B. S. from UCLA in 2007.  She is working on methods to incorporate natural selection into genealogical approaches in theoretical population genetics. 

Dan Rice
Graduate student in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

Dan received his B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale in 2010.  At Yale, he worked with Jeff Townsend on the evolution of quantitative traits. He devised a test for directional selection on quantitative traits based on QTL effect size distributions.  In the Desai Lab, he is using experimental evolution to explore mutation-selection balance in yeast.

Elizabeth Jerison
Graduate student in Physics

Elizabeth received her B. A. from Yale in 2010.  She is interested in selection in theoretical population genetics and experimental evolution to probe the structure of pleiotropy.  

Ben Good
Graduate student in Physics

Ben received his B.S. from Swarthmore in 2010.  He is working on theoretical population genetics and evolutionary dynamics.

Evgeni Frenkel
Graduate Student in Biophysics

Genya received his B.A. from Princeton in 2010.  He is working on experimental evolution in yeast, particular the spontaneous evolution of frequency dependent selection.

Katya Kosheleva
Graduate Student in Physics

Katya received her B.A. from the University of Chicago in 2011.  She has worked on theoretical models of genetic draft in rapidly adapting populations, and is now using experimental evolution in budding yeast to understand the interplay between selection on new mutations and on standing genetic variation.

Julia Piper
Graduate Student in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.

Stephen Martis
Research Technician

Stephen received his B.A. from Princeton University in 2012. He is working on experimental evolution in yeast.

Ian Ochs
Undergraduate, Harvard College

Ian is working on theoretical population genetics.

Sadik Shahidain
Undergraduate, Harvard College

Ian is working on experimental evolution in budding yeast.

Lab Alumni

Gabriel Perron
Banting Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Ottawa.

Lucy Colwell
Lecturer (Assistant Professor), Cambridge University.