Lab Members

Jaap de Roode

Professor of Biology

Jaap received his MSc in Population Biology from Wageningen University in the Netherlands and his PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He is interested in the ecology and evolution of infectious diseases, and currently studies infectious diseases of monarch butterflies, honey bees and humans.

Kandis Adams

FIRST Postdoctoral Fellow

Kandis obtained her PhD from Morehouse School of Medicine, and is currently a postdoc in Emory’s FIRST program. She uses monarch butterflies as a novel model system to study the role of the circadian system in animal behavior and physiology.

Venkat Talla

Visiting Scholar

Venkat obtained a Masters of Technology in Bioinformatics from SASTRA University in India and a PhD in Evolutionary Biology from Uppsala University in Sweden (in the lab of Niklas Backström). Much of his work has focused on population genomics and speciation genetics of birds and butterflies. He is interested in quantifying the genomic differentiation between migratory monarch butterflies and monarchs that have lost their migration to form sedentary populations in North America, as part of a collaboration with Sonia Altizer (University of Georgia), Karen Oberhauser (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Caz Taylor (Tulane University).

Scott Villa

FIRST Postdoctoral Fellow

Scott obtained his PhD from the University of Utah and is currently a postdoc in Emory’s FIRST program, working with Nicole Gerardo and Jaap de Roode. Scott’s research focuses on reproductive isolation and speciation. In Jaap’s lab, he studies mating behavior of monarch butterflies.

Ania Majewska

FIRST Postdoctoral Fellow

Ania obtained her PhD from the University of Georgia and is currently a postdoc in Emory’s FIRST program. Ania’s research focuses on host-parasite interactions, and she has studied how urbanization affects parasitism in monarch butterflies, and how parasites affect population growth of monarchs. In Jaap’s lab, she studies long-term trends of parasite infection and virulence evolution.

Erik Edwards

Greenhouse manager

Erik obtained a Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences at the University of Georgia and has worked as grower at several commercial greenhouses. Since November 2017, he has been in charge of the Biology Department’s greenhouse, facilitating monarch butterfly work in the de Roode and Gerardo labs.

Joselyne Chavez

Lab manager

Joselyne received her BA in Biology: Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from Barnard College, Columbia University. She is the Research Specialist for the de Roode and Gerardo labs. Her interests include the effects of climate change and other environmental factors on monarch-milkweed system and the application of chemical ecology techniques to better understand the mechanisms involved in the symbiosis and how those interactions have evolved over time.

Tolu Babalola

Research Specialist

Tolu received her BS in Biology from Kennesaw State University. She is a Research Specialist for the de Roode lab. Her interests include the effects of parasitsm on mating behavior in monarch butterflies.

Mitchell Kendzel

PBEE Graduate Student

Mitchell obtained his MSc in Biology from the University of Cincinnati and is currently a PhD student in Emory’s PBEE program. His work has focused on movement ecology and sensory biology. His current research interests are using the monarch butterfly as a model to study how parasitism interferes with animal migration and the influence this has on the development of sedentary populations.

Karl Protil

Summer Affiliate

Karl obtained his a B.S. in Biology and a minor in History at Emory and will next pursue his MPH at the Rollins School of Public Health. He is interested in studying monarch mating behavior.

Ella Zhao

Undergraduate Student – Honors Program

Ella is pursuing a B.S. in Biology. She is interested in studying monarch butterfly behavior and evolution.

Ahmed Aljohani

Undergraduate Student – Honors Program

Ahmed is pursuing a BS in Biology and a minor in media studies. He is interested in environmental effects and day-night rhythms on organisms’ behaviors, and is using monarch butterflies as a model organism.

Kieran Kelly

Undergraduate Student – Honors Program

Kieran is pursuing a B.S. in Biology. He is interested in studying monarch mating behavior.

Ali Ebada

Undergraduate Student

Ali is pursuing a B.S. in Biology. He is interested in studying monarch population divergence and hybridization.

Hannah Klein

Undergraduate Student

Hannah is an NBB major at Emory, and interested in animal behavior and the neuronal basis of self-medication in animals.

Ashley Williams

Undergraduate Student

Ashley is a rising senior at Spelman College, and doing research in the de Roode lab as part of the SURE summer program. Ashley is interested in understanding monarch butterfly morphology and its role in speciation.

Andrew Pahnke

Undergraduate Student

Andrew is a biology major at Emory, and doing research in the de Roode lab as part of the SURE summer program. Andrew is interested in zoopharmacognosy and is studying the role of milkweed chemicals in providing parasite resistance to monarch butterflies.

Hannah Soloff

Undergraduate Student

Hannah is a biology and music major at Emory, and doing research in the Gerardo and de Roode labs as part of the SURE summer program. Hannah is interested in the role of plant microbes in driving monarch resistance to parasites.


Lab Alumni


Leiling Tao

Travis Dynes

PhD Students

Eleanore Sternberg

Thesis title: “Studies of local adaptation and ecological determinants of infection in a monarch butterfly parasite interaction”

Amanda Pierce

Thesis title: “Determining the effects of animal migration and range expansion on population genetics”

Travis Dynes

Thesis title: “Genetics and human management in Varroa destructor parasitism”

Erica Harris

Thesis title: “The role of medicinal food plants in mediating the gut microbiome and disease resistance in monarch butterflies”

Zachary Lynch

Thesis title: “Effects of parasites on host adaptation: immune system trade-offs, alternative behavioral defenses, and outcrossing rates”

Mary Bushman

Thesis title: “Within-host competition and evolution of drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum

Wen-Hao Tan

Thesis title: “Ecological immunology in a tri-trophic context: plant-mediated defense and immune gene evolution in monarch butterflies”

Signe White

Thesis title: “The evolution of virulence in heterogeneous host populations”

MS Students

Dylan Grippi

Thesis title: “Within-host ecology: parasitism over a changing landscape”

Gayatri Sekar

Thesis title: “Assessing competition between drug resistant and drug sensitive parasites in natural populations of Plasmodium falciparum

Andrew Mongue

Thesis title: “Dynamics of multiple matings in monarch butterflies”

Ivan Shoemaker

Thesis title: “Risk-based plasticity of self-medication behavior in Drosophila melanogaster

Undergraduate Students

Wajd Alaidrous

John Rolfes

Mahal Bugay

Ezinne Nwadinobi

Ava Salmi

Abby Hotaling

Kristen Eichamer

Becca Nation

Mahal Bugay

Alicia Johnson

Chengwei Lo

Jessica Cai

Dametris Osbourne

Carl Dalmeus

Destane Garrett

Sasha Iwamoto

Aamina Ahmad

Kevin Hoang

Michelle Tsai

Itai Doron

Yiwen Li

Sarah Kuehl

Maaz Ahmed

Roy Kucuk

Jessica Nguyen

Gwen Kirschke

Elizabeth Sun

Krish Khurana

Sam Marrack

Isabella Cantor

Miles Hollimon

Yaw Kumi-Ansu

Kristoffer Leon

Andrew Mongue

Camden Gowler

Marie Bangura

Charisma Mylavarapu

Elizabeth Moore

Yamini Potini

Milan Udawatta

Rohini Swamy

Rebecca Wang

Shahbadul Faraz

John Joyave

Amanda Rawstern

Sarah Sonny

Carlos Lopez

Ashley Darar

Hui Li

Brandon Hedrick

Junjian Huang