Intro to EEB Panel Members:
Elise Zipkin is an associate professor in the department of integrative biology at Michigan State University and the director of the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Program. As a quantitative ecologist, Dr. Zipkin’s research combines empirical data with innovative mathematical and statistical methods to address grand challenges in the study of biodiversity loss and the effects of anthropogenic activities, such as climate change. She focuses on a wide variety of systems and taxa including birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, and insects, evaluating how species populations and communities are responding to a rapidly changing environment. Dr. Zipkin also works with management agencies and policy makers to determine approaches for mitigating species losses and strategies for effective conservation. Dr. Zipkin earned bachelor's degrees in mathematics and applied ecology from the University of Michigan, a masters in natural resources from Cornell University, and a PhD in biology from the University of Maryland. She has published over 70 peer reviewed articles and delivered more than 35 invited presentations at universities and symposia around the world. She was named an Early Career Fellow in 2017 by the Ecological Society of America and received an #ITeachMSU Award in 2019 for her dedication to student success. Dr. Zipkin loves working with the students in her lab and particular enjoys seeing EEB students get excited about statistics.
I am an assistant professor in computer science & engineering and EEB. My research focuses on developing eco-evolutionary theory to predict and control evolution in complex ecological communities. I develop this theory through a combination of modeling and conducting digital experiments on populations of computer programs. In particular, my lab thinks about eco-evolutionary control in the context of cancer, the gut microbiome, and evolutionary computation. We don't do any wet lab or field research ourselves, but we love collaborating with people who do!
EEB Alumni Panel Members:
Dr. Anna Funk earned her EEB degree in Lars Brudvig's lab in 2018. She discovered she enjoyed telling others about science more than she liked collecting data, and decided to pursue a career in science communication. She worked as a AAAS Mass Media Fellow at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in summer 2018, and started as assistant (and later, associate) editor at Discover magazine directly after. Earlier this year, decided to try her hand at freelance science writing and communications, and started her own business, Funkyard LLC. Find her bylines in Smithsonian, Inverse, Science magazine, and The Kansas City Beacon; on Twitter @DrAnnaFunk; and writing about her lawn-to-wildflower endeavors in #TheFunkyard on Substack.
Darren completed his PhD in Integrative Biology and Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior in May 2021. His research used field experiments and computational modeling to address the collective foraging strategy of bumblebees at the individual, collective, and evolutionary levels. He is now an associate medical writer for Complete HealthVizion, while also pursuing other freelance writing in both science and comedy.
Dr. Allison Young is a University Research Postdoctoral Fellow working with Dr. Clare Rittschof at the University of Kentucky. She received her PhD in Integrative Biology and Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior from Michigan State University, studying the foraging behavior and life history of four honey bee species in the US and in India. As a postdoc, her research investigates how pesticide exposure affects the foraging and exploratory behavior of honey bee workers, as well as the consequences of those effects for colony health and success in agricultural landscapes.
Funding Graduate School Panel Members:
Lars Brudvig is a Professor in the Department of Plant Biology and Program in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, at Michigan State University. The Brudvig Lab conducts research to guide the restoration of ecosystems damaged by humans, with a focus on grasslands and savannas in Michigan and longleaf pine woodlands in the southeastern United States. He teaches courses in botany and restoration ecology and works with undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs in research. Lars completed a B.A. in Biology from Carleton College, a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Iowa State University and, prior to joining MSU in 2010, was a postdoc with the Corridor Project in South Carolina.
I am a PhD candidate and GRFP fellow in the Halanych lab at Auburn University. My interests broadly encompass large scale patterns of animal evolution but usually involve whole genome duplication events and/or understudied marine invertebrate groups. I am also interested in computational methods, with a focus on how bioinformatics can be used (or misused) to explore non-model taxa.
Summer (she/they) is an incoming Plant Biology PhD student at the University of Georgia, Athens. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biology at Cal Poly Pomona and participated in a post-baccalaureate training program at Michigan State University. They are broadly interested in the evolution and ecology of flowering plants, which they are excited to explore more during rotations in their first year of graduate school. In addition to their research, Summer is passionate about education, communication, and diversity in the sciences. If you’d like to chat or have any questions, feel free to reach out on Twitter (@Summer_Blanco).
An avid animal and nature enthusiast from an early age, I’ve long been fascinated by arthropods and how their communities help shape, and are in turn shaped by, the ecosystems in which they are a part of. I received my b.s. of zoology from Kent State University in my home state of Ohio, during which time I became increasingly interested in human impacts on the environment and ecosystem function. I am currently a 3rd year entomology PhD candidate in Dr. Doug Landis’s lab, where I have combined these interests by investigating the effects of soil arthropod community dynamics and activity on carbon cycling. Beyond my research, I enjoy public outreach and am an active member of the Graduate and Undergraduate Entomology Student Society (GUESS) and Bug House volunteer. When I’m not busy being a graduate student, I love reading and getting out into nature hiking and biking.
Graduate Student Panel Members:
I am a Brazilian evolutionary biologist interested in how inbreeding affects species interactions. I work primarily on plants, and my PhD projects take place in both Brazil and the US.
My name is Riley Pizza (They/Them) and I am a PhD student at MSU in the plant biology and EEB programs. I am interested in whether using local seed, rather than seed from further away, reliably results in the highest restoration success. To test this, I will survey young restorations in southwest MI to test if the establishment of restoration species is influenced by how local the sourced seed is. I will also utilize a long-term prairie experiment at Kellogg Biological station that manipulates seed geographic origin to understand its effect on trophic interactions and role in community assembly.
Hi, my name is Olivia (she/her/hers)! I’m a 5th year PhD candidate in Catherine Lindell’s lab. My research focuses on the interactions between predator behavior, prey behavior, and the landscape. I’m currently working on a project centered around how American Kestrels and the landscape may interact to influence antipredator and foraging behavior in passerines, and how this may affect pest regulation services in Michigan cherry orchards. I have served on EEB’s Graduate Group council as the outreach and social chairs for 4 years. I’m also on the American Ornithology Society’s membership committee. In my free time I'm a falconer, a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator, and I lead a book club. I also enjoy keeping plants, hiking, backpacking, cooking, and drawing. I have two snakes and a tarantula.
My name is Maya (she/her/hers) and I am a first year graduate student in plant biology and EEB! My PhD research investigates how plant populations disperse and persist in new habitats, with a focus on genetics.