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.

Erica Harris

PBEE Graduate Student

Erica is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and Woodrow Wilson Mellon Mays Fellow. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Cellular Biology at Rice University, and is currently co-advised by Nicole Gerardo and Jaap de Roode. She is interested in how environmental factors mediate host-parasite interactions and uses monarch butterflies to study how host diet and gut microbial communities mediate disease resistance.

Signe White

PBEE Graduate Student

Signe earned her BS in Human Biology and BA in Anthropology from Indiana University in 2012. She is co-advised by Levi Morran and Jaap de Roode, and is interested in the evolution of infectious diseases. She uses Caenorhabditis elegans and their microsporidial and bacterial pathogens to study virulence evolution in heterogeneous host populations. Signe was also a 2017-2018 Graduate Fellow for the Emory Undergraduate Research Partners Program.

Elizabeth Sun

Undergraduate Student

Elizabeth is a second-year student, pursuing a B.S. in Biology and a major in Piano Performance. She is interested in exploring the various ways in which monarch butterflies can be used as a model organism to further scientific discovery. 

Isabella Cantor

Undergraduate Student

Isabella is a second-year student pursuing a B.S. in Anthropology and Human Biology and a minor in Global Health. She is interested in studying disease spread and immunity in monarch butterfly populations.

Wajd Alaidrous

Undergraduate Student

Wajd is a second-year student completing a B.S. in Biology. She is interested in studying infectious diseases in monarchs and methods used to study them. In the future, she would like to make discoveries in medicine using monarch butterflies and other model organisms.

Krish Khurana

Undergraduate Student – Research for credit

Krish is a second year student doing a BS in Chemistry and a BS in Biology. He is interested in the effects of cardenolides on monarch butterfly resistance to their parasites. In addition to his research, he also is a teaching assistant for Introductory Biology.

Gwen Kirschke

Undergraduate Student – Independent Research, Agnes Scott

Gwen is a second year student at Agnes Scott College. She is interested in the effects of migration and breeding on parasite prevalence in monarch and queen butterfly populations.

Karl Protil

Undergraduate Student

Karl is a rising third year student pursuing a B.S. in Biology and a minor in History. He is interested in studying monarch mating behavior. When not in the lab, he is a teaching assistant for Introductory Biology.

Ella Zhao

Undergraduate Student

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

John Rolfes

Undergraduate Student

John is an Emory undergraduate and interested in mating behavior of monarch butterflies.

Ahmed Aljohani

Undergraduate Student

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


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”

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”

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

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

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