Current Postdoctoral Researchers

Loren Albert (Kellner Lab)

I am a plant ecophysiologist with a focus on scaling between leaf-level function and ecosystem-level processes in forests. My past research includes investigating how leaf phenology impacts the seasonality of carbon uptake in Amazonian evergreen forests, and how such processes can be incorporated into land surface models. At Brown I am investigating how optical signals from leaves can be used to probe photosynthesis at scales from leaves to canopies under a range of conditions. I draw upon tools from the fields of ecology, plant physiology, evolution, micrometeorology, and remote sensing in my research. Research Gate Profile

Lauren Alpert Sugden (Ramachandran Lab)

I study the patterns left behind by natural selection on human genomes, focusing on adaptive events that influence such phenotypes as lactase persistence and light skin pigmentation in European populations, and defense against malarial infection in West African populations. Drawing from the broad fields of probability and statistics, I am developing methods for predicting new phenotypes (and underlying genomic loci) that have undergone strong positive selection in the human lineage in a way that is robust and interpretable.

Ariel Camp (Brainerd Lab)

I study how the muscles of the head and body are used together to generate powerful feeding behaviors. Just an athlete can use back and core muscles to power a throw, it is reasonable that animals could use body or neck muscles to power feeding.  Currently, I am working in the Brainerd Lab to study how the role of these body muscles in suction feeding varies across fish species and body shapes. Website

Carolyn Eng (Roberts Lab)

I am interested in the influence of elastic connective tissues on the energetics and mechanics of muscle function. In my previous work, I explored the role of fascia in movement by studying its biaxial material properties and in vivo strain patterns. With my postdoctoral research in the Roberts lab, I am exploring the role of aponeurosis in modulating muscle function. By modifying aponeurosis properties, I will directly examine the role of aponeurosis in modulating muscle shape changes and test how similar alterations occurring after surgical intervention or with injury, age, or disease influence the mechanics of muscle contraction. Google Scholar CV

Brian Gill (Kartzinel Lab)

In 2017, Brian completed his PhD in Ecology at Colorado State University. For his doctoral research, he used genetic tools to compare the diversity and distributions of mountain stream insects in the Colorado Rockies and the Ecuadorian Andes. At Brown, in collaboration with assistant professor Tyler Kartzinel, Brian is using genetic tools to better understand the ecology and evolution of large mammalian herbivore diets in African savanna ecosystems. Website

Juan Losada (Leslie Lab)

I am broadly interested in how developmental pathways shape reproductive diversity in plants. In particular, I study the numerous strategies that vascular plants have evolved to achieve a successful production of descendants, from sporogenesis, gametogenesis through mating and seed set. At the Leslie lab, I am exploring the ontogeny of seed cones in conifers to understand the underlying causes of their functional integration.

Sabine Moritz (Brainerd Lab)

I have always been interested in the interplay between skeleton and musculature. Right now I am using XROMM to explore the relationship between musculo-skeletal morphology and function in several non-mammalian amniotes. CV

Jim Mossman (Rand Lab)

I am interested in how mitochondrial and nuclear genomes interact to mediate organismal fitness. Central foci of my research include: (i) mitochondrial genetic variation and male-specific traits (Frank and Hurst Hypothesis), (ii) G x G interactions (mtDNA-nDNA epistases), and (iii) G x G x E effects on phenotypic variation and gene expression. I currently use Drosophila to investigate these phenomena. CV

Laura Nunes (Sax Lab)

Laura's work in the Sax Lab examines how data on the climate conditions of species native, naturalized and horticultural ranges can be combined to better understand how plant species will respond to changes in climate. She has strong interests and expertise in understanding how to measure and charactize niche conservatism.

Aaron Olsen (Brainerd Lab)

My research focuses on the biomechanical principles governing how organisms produce motion, force, and power and how these principles have influenced the evolution and diversification of vertebrate musculoskeletal systems. Currently, I’m working as a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Beth Brainerd to combine in vivo kinematics collected using X-ray Analysis of Moving Morphology with biomechanical modeling and collections-based approaches. The objective of my current research is to understand how the biomechanics of suction feeding has influenced the diversification of body forms in ray-finned fishes. Website

Yevgeniy "Eugene" Raynes (Weinreich Lab)

I use experimental evolution and computer simulations to study evolution of the genomic mutation rate. During my PhD I studied the evolutionary dynamics of mutator alleles in experimental microbial populations, focusing on indirect selection experienced by mutators due to their associations with beneficial mutations. Currently, I am using computer simulations to examine the evolutionary dynamics of chromosomal instability during cancer progression. CV

Michael Rosario (Roberts Lab)

Across the tree of life, the storage and release of elastic energy aids organismal movement. In some cases, elastic elements are used to amplify power (e.g., tendon storing energy and releasing quickly while jumping) and in others, they can attenuate impacts (by releasing energy to muscle over a relatively long period of time). In these examples, the function of elastic elements depends on 1) the relative speed of loading to unloading and 2) the nature of the connected structures. In my research, I combine mechanical testing with computer simulation to study the dynamic interaction between springs and their connected structures. Website

Mekala Sundaram (Leslie Lab)

I am an evolutionary ecologist with broad research interests in species life history strategies, foraging ecology, conservation biology and metrics of scientist productivity. In my doctoral research, I examined how seed attributes influence squirrel foraging behaviors using tools from phylogenetics, economics, ecology and biochemistry. Currently, I am developing a framework for analyzing the global distribution of conifer reproductive traits from a database of geographic ranges, reproductive traits for every living conifer species, and a well-sampled conifer phylogeny.

Henry Tsai (Gatesy Lab)

I am broadly interested in the evolution of vertebrate locomotion. My research focuses on the mechanical functions, kinematics, and developmental significance of appendicular joints. Moreover, I use artistic media, such as illustration and three-dimensional model props, to communicate my research to both the scientific community and the public.

Michael Turchin (Ramachandran Lab)

 

Wenjing Zheng (Tatar Lab)

I have a broad background in fly genetics and cell biology, with specific training and expertise in key techniques and designs proposed for this application. As a graduate student at Chinese Academy of Sciences, I trained in fly genetics and cell biology. As a research associate at Brown University, I laid the groundwork for the proposed research by inducing fibrosis in Drosophila Malpighian tubules and nephrocytes, testing initial mutants and characterizing pathology related to human kidney disease as experienced in diabetes. Prior to this new project, I successfully executed our study of immune system aging based on the fly renal system. That work has been revised and resubmitted for publication in PLoS Biology. 

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