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The Cohort of 2012


EEB welcomes its new first-year graduate students. Back row, from left, are:  Tim Treuer, Andrew Tilman, Mircea Davidescu, Mingzhen Lu, and Josh Daskin. Front row, from left, are: Jackie Leung, Charlotte Chang, Cara Brook, and Lisa McManus.

Cara Brook

cara brook

Cara Brook received a B.S. in Earth Systems at Stanford University (2010), where she studied the human-influenced expansion of the Common Raven into Yosemite National Park for her senior honors thesis. Post-graduation, she interned with the sustainable development division of WWF-Madagascar and managed a project investigating the influence of human land use on infectious disease emergence in central Kenya. Most recently, she worked as a USGS field technician studying predator-prey interactions between gray wolves and white-tailed deer in northern Minnesota. She is interested in the interface of human and wildlife systems, as pertains to disease dynamics and conservation applications.

Charlotte Chang


Charlotte Chang earned her BA with honors from Pomona College (2010) and an MPhil from Cambridge University (2011). She has studied prairie songbirds as well as coastal seabirds, and researched breeding songbirds at Chongming Island (Shanghai municipality, China) this past year as a US Fulbright Fellow. She is interested in mathematical modeling, computational simulation, and above all, getting down in the field. She plans to examine the effect of the cage bird trade in Southeast Asia on population persistence.

Joshua Daskin


Joshua Daskin holds a BS in biology and environmental studies from Brandeis University and an MSc in tropical ecology and conservation from James Cook University. His past includes research in wetland and grassland restoration at Archbold Biological Station in Florida, estuarine ecology and public health at Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama, and amphibian diseases and microbial ecology in Australia. He also worked on restoration for The Nature Conservancy in Michigan. Josh is gathering ideas to build a thesis focused on the ecology, restoration, and conservation of tropical ecosystems and biodiversity.

Mircea Davidescu


Mircea Davidescu was the top graduate in a double-bachelor program with honors (Biochemistry and Computer Science), receiving the Lietenant Governor's Silver Medal at the University of New Brunswick. His pursuit of knowledge has led him to several sponsored research award internships in a variety of subjects including pharmaceutical genomics, computer visualization, educational games, and quantum computing. Author of a comprehensive history book, Mircea is among the 24 students across Canada who received an NSERC Julie Payette graduate scholarship. Building upon his interdisciplinary experience, Mircea plans to work on computational models of collective animal behavior and applying such models to collective cellular behavior.

Jacqueline Leung


Jacqueline Leung received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Davis (2007).  Since college, she has worked at the University of California, San Francisco and New York University, studying how helminths can suppress inflammatory mucosal responses in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.  She is interested in incorporating her background in immunology with disease ecology and epidemiology to better understand how the host’s immune response to parasitic infections, especially co-infections, can influence the dissemination of pathogens today.

Mingzhen Lu


Mingzhen received an A.B. in Geosciences with a double major in Biology from Peking University (2012). His undergraduate thesis was about soil organic matter stability, which is a critical topic in terrestrial ecosystem ecology as it controls nutrient supply, carbon and nitrogen stock in soil.  He is particularly interested in element cycling in terrestrial ecosystems, with special concern on nitrogen cycling. He hopes to develop a deeper understanding of how different components (biotic&abiotic) of n ecosystem fit well with each other in terms of element fluxes. He is looking forward to combining modeling with field work at Princeton. 

Lisa McManus

lisa mcmanus

Lisa McManus obtained her B.S. in Marine and Atmospheric Science from the University of Miami. As a marine biology major, her senior thesis work focused on the recruitment of cryptic fauna on coral reefs. After completing her undergraduate degree, she worked at the University of Miami for two years as a lab technician conducting mangrove ecology studies and as a naturalist at the Biscayne Nature Center. She is interested in modeling connectivity between coral reef ecosystems to inform conservation practices as part of the  PU-BIOS Graduate Program

Andrew Tilman


Andrew Tilman received his B.A. in Mathematics from Gustavus Adolphus College (2011) where he completed an honors thesis on food web modeling. Since graduation, he studied economics at the University of Minnesota. He is excited by integrating ideas and models from economics and ecology. Of particular interest to him is exploring the mathematics of common pool resources and public goods. He is similarly interested in what mechanisms may lead groups to cooperate over the use of these resources.

Tim Treuer


Tim Treuer received an A.B. in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from Harvard (2010) where he worked on multiple projects concerning aspects of the ecology of tropical lepidopterans.  After graduating he spent a season as a research assistant in El Area de Conservación Guanacaste in Costa Rica, a year in Indonesia working on rainforest restoration and mosquito ecology projects, and a summer in Honduras completing a Divemaster internship.  He is interested in understanding the mechanisms linking deforestation and land transformation with infectious disease risk in the tropics.