vonHoldt Lab

Evolutionary Genomics and Ecological Epigenomics

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Bridgett vonHoldt [CV], trying to teach her nieces about wolf watching.



Post-doctoral Researchers

Kerry Machemer
Guppy genomics

Ilana Janowitz
My research is broadly focused on the genetic and genomic basis of phenotypic diversification. Using both genomic techniques and large-scale pedigree data, my research goal is to explore the genetic and epigenetic changes associated with natural and artificial selection in canids.


Linda Rutledge
I am interested in how hybridization and environmental factors, including human influences, alter evolutionary trajectories and lead to contemporary evolution of species. To that end, my research focuses on genomic ancestry and identifying functional genes that are responsible for local adaptation and improved fitness, particularly for species at risk. Much of my work is on Canis species, and in particular Eastern Wolves from Algonquin Provincial Park. I am also the lead researcher for the Eastern Wolf Survey (www.easternwolfsurvey.ca), a research project focussed on non-invasively tracking Eastern Wolves in southern Ontario's Provincial Parks. I am excited to be part of the vonHoldt Lab as a post-doctoral research associate, where I will be working primarily on genomic ancestry of North American Canis spp.


Rebecca (Shirk) Kartzinel (starting Jan 2016)
My research interests are in the adaptation and genetic diversity of natural populations, particularly with respect to factors such as mating system, hybridization, and colonization. My focus has been on plant genetics and genomics: the role of colonization in adaptation and population genetic patterns in an invasive Geranium; patterns of genetic diversity and structure in 20+ species in Wisconsin's forest understories; and the genomics of cryptic speciation with gene flow in an annual legume. In the vonHoldt lab I am expanding into genomics and epigenetics of species interactions in the goldenrod-gallfly system, as well as canid genomics and epigenetics.



Kristin Brzeski (starting Jan 2016)
Coyote genomics.



Ph.D. Students

Elizabeth Heppenheimer
My research is broadly focused on the role of adaptive introgression and epigenetics in the evolution of complex traits. I am currently exploring the genetic and epigenetic basis of migratory behavior in Rocky Mountain caribou, as well as the genetic consequences of coyote range expansion and hybridization events with wild and domestic canids.

Allie DeCandia
My principle area of interest is vertebrate population genomics. I am intrigued by the relationship of microevolutionary processes and their larger scale implications. More specifically, I am interested in the use of next-generation technologies to study the interaction of individuals with their environment at multiple genomic levels. In the vonHoldt lab, I’m exploring the genetic and epigenetic underpinnings of disease susceptibility in Yellowstone National Park wolves and assisting ongoing analyses through the North American Canine Ancestry Project.



Undergraduate Students

Daniela Cosio '16 (EEB)
Carly Jackson '16 (EEB)
Jordy Lubkeman '16 (EEB)
Emily Shuldiner '16 (EEB)
Thomas Kroshus '15 (MolBio)
Karlos Bledsoe '15 (EEB)
Ryan O'Connell '17
Gitanjali Gnanadesikan '14 (EEB)
Eskender McCoy '14 (EEB)

Lab Alum

Jenni Harmoinen, University of Oulu, Finland
Yashira Afanador-Hernandez (visited as a Master's student from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez)
Rachelle Mariano (visiting Undergraduate from University of Miami)