Reed A. Cartwright, Assistant Professor and PI

Dr. Cartwright (PhD Genetics, University of Georgia) studies a variety of questions in computational evolutionary genetics. He is part of the Genomics, Evolution, and Bioinformatics Faculty in the School of Life Sciences and the Center for Human and Comparative Genomics in the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. Dr. Cartwright's graduate work was in theoretical population genetics, and his postdoc research was in molecular evolution and bioinformatics. Currently, he is primarily interested in developing statistical models to estimate evolutionary process from large, genomic datasets.

Email: @MinionLabCVWebsiteScholarGitHub

Rachel S. Schwartz, Assistant Research Scientist

Dr. Schwartz (PhD Ecology, University of California, Davis) is interested in a variety of questions in evolution and bioinformatics. Her current focus is developing methods to determine evolutionary relationships, primarily using next-generation sequencing data (i.e. “big data”). She has collaborated on phylogenetic studies of organisms ranging from pathogens to salamanders. Her previous research addressed the effects of isolation on the genetic diversity and relationships among populations of Sacramento perch.

Email: @rachelssCVWebsiteGitHub

David J. Winter, Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Winter (PhD Zoology, Univesity of Otago) has a very broad interest in the study of evolutionary biology. He is particularly interested in developing and applying computational methods that take advantage of the very large genetic datasets produced by modern sequencing methods. The major focus of David's postdoctoral research is developing software to detect and describe the effect of mutations from Tetrahymena thermophila mutation accumulation experiments.

In addition to this work, David has a personal goal of publishing at least one paper focusing on organisms from each of the 36 animal phyla. At the moment he is up to 5 (molluscs, annelids, sponges, echinoderms, and arthropods). Chordates are next.

Email: @TheAtavismWebsiteScholarGitHub

Steven Wu, Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Wu (PhD Biological Sciences, University of Auckland) develops new methods to detect de novo mutations from next generation sequences analysis as part of the DeNovoGear software project. He is currently working on novel genotype likelihood models to reduce the false positive rate of mutation predictions. He is also working on improving the assembly of homologous regions from different species’ genomes.

Email: ScholarGitHub

Christian Sievert, Postdoctoral Scholar

Dr. Sievert (PhD Biology, Christian-Albrechts-Universität), uses experimental evolution and bioinformatics to study E. coli. He is interested in understanding which genes control the conversion of xylose to lactate, succinate, ethanol, and alanine in different strains of bacteria. Using next-generation sequencing, he compares strains of E. coli developed in the lab to identitfy variants responsible for increased metabolite production. He is currently studying the fitness landscape of his experiments.


Tara Furstenau, PhD Student

Ms. Furstenau (BS Bioinformatics & Genomics, Arizona State University) is a PhD candidate in Molecular and Cellular Biology. She uses computer simulations and algorithms to model and study various phenomena in plant populations. One question her research seeks to answer is whether self-incompatibility systems in plants evolved to prevent selfing or biparental imbreeding. She also studies isolation-by-distance, the fact that organisms are more likely to mate with individuals that are close by, and populations in close proximity will look similar.

Email: @tara_furstenauWebsiteGitHub

Adam Orr, PhD Student

Mr. Orr (BS, 2015) is a student at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University, dual majoring in molecular biology and mathematics. He is working with the SISRS phylogenetic tree-building program and improving its interfacing capabilities with other programs, such as assemblers like Minia, which take raw data and align it to a genome. Adam is also analyzing the tree of angiosperms to see if some genes are more informative about phylogenetic relationships than others and if, in general, an entire transcriptome is necessary to build a phylogenetic tree.


Emily Thompson, Outreach Coordinator

Ms. Thompson (BS, 2016) is a biomedical engineering student at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University. As the lab's outreach coordinator, she is improving her science writing and communication skills by writing posts for the Panda's Thumb blog and organizing other public outreach events. Through her work she is learning more about phylogenomics, computational biology, and statistical analysis.

Email: Website

Nathan Palmer, Undergraduate Student

Mr. Palmer (BS, 2016) is a molecular biosciences and biotechnology student at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University. He has several projects going on in the lab. In phylogenetics, he is working on an alternative to the bootstrap method of testing the reliability of a phylogenetic tree. He is also useing deterministic and stochastic computer simulations to study how and why natural competence in bacteria evolved and is so prevalent. Finally, he is collaborating with Dr. Sievert on experimental evolution of E. coli.


Diana Arroyo, Undergraduate Student

Ms. Arroyo (BS, 2016) is a biology student at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University. She studies abnormal substitution rates in phylogenetic trees of various mammals and determines their cause. This is important to determine because a certain gene being under selection might cause abnormal substitution rates.


Melissa Ip, Undergraduate Student

Ms. Ip (BS, 2017) is a computer science student at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University. Her main research interests are bioinformatics and personalized medicine. She is currently working on developing software to detect de novo mutations from next-generation sequencing of related people.

Email: GitHub