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.

Alex Nguyen-Ba
Postdoctoral Fellow

Alex got his B.Sc. in Biology at the University of Toronto, and did his Ph.D. in Alan Moses' lab at the University of Toronto. He is interested in characterizing patterns of epistasis in budding yeast, in the evolution of complex mating systems, and a variety of other topics related to evolutionary dynamics and experimental evolution.

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.

Jose Rojas Echenique
Graduate student in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

Jose got his B.A. in Biology from the University of Chicago in 2010. He joined the Desai lab in 2013 and is working on characterizing patterns of epistasis in experimental budding yeast populations.

Julia Piper
Graduate Student in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.

Ivana Cvijovic
Graduate Student in Systems Biology

Ivana received her B.A. and M.Sc. from Cambridge University in 2013. She is currently working on theoretical models of evolution in fluctuating environment, and is interested generally in theoretical population genetics.

Ian Ochs
Undergraduate, Harvard College

Ian is working on theoretical population genetics.

Lab Alumni

J. David van Dyken
Assistant Professor, University of Miami.

Stephen Martis
Graduate Student, UC Berkeley.

Lauren Nicolaisen
Data Scientist, Khan Academy.

Gabriel Perron
Banting Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Ottawa.

Lucy Colwell
Lecturer (Assistant Professor), Cambridge University.