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Graduate Students

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Biology Graduate Students


Afkhami, Mehrnaz

Ph.D. student with Dr. JP Masly; B.S. & M.S. University of Tehran, Iran. Research interests include evolutionary genetics, male-female interactions, and female reproduction.

Email: mehrnaz.afkhami-1@ou.edu


Allira, Meagan

Research interests include understanding how seasonal stressors affect viral transmission and innate immunity in bats.

Email: Meagan.Allira-1@ou.edu


Azom, Golam

Ph.D. student with Dr. J.P. Masly. Research interests include evolutionary biology, developmental genetics, and molecular biology.

Email: mgazom@ou.edu


Bailey, Leigh

M.S. student with Dr. Alex Bentz; BS Truman State University, Missouri; Research interests include transgenerational behavioral plasticity and epigenetic programming in songbirds. 

Email: Leigh.Bailey-1@ou.edu


Besozzi, Elizabeth

Alumni Fellow and Ph.D. student with Dr. Michael Patten; BS Smith College; Research interests include exploring relative importance of top-down and bottom-up drivers of distribution, community ecology, biogeography and conservation.

Email: ebesozzi@ou.edu


Busch, Michelle

Ph.D. candidate with Dr. Katharine Marske; BS University of Michigan. Research Interests include anthropogenic effects (i.e., dams, drying) on macroinvertebrate and fish assemblages, hydrology, and food webs.

Email: buschmh@ou.edu


Byrd, Brendon

PhD student with Dr. Laura Stein; BS Texas A&M University; Research interests include the evolutionary consequences and mechanistic basis of transgenerational plasticity.

Email: Brendon.E.Byrd-1@ou.edu


Cespedes-Gonzalez, Alejandra

Ph.D. student with Prof. Ingo Schlupp; MSc Université de Bourgogne Franche-Comté, BSc University of Bristol; Research interests include behavioral ecology, parthenogenetic mating systems, transgenerational effects, and herpetology. 

Email: acespedesg@ou.edu


Cimprich, Paula

Ph.D. student with Dr. Jeffrey Kelly; BS Miami University, Ohio; Research interests include conservation biology, ornithology and ecology.

Email: paula.m.cimprich-1@ou.edu


Cook, Katherine

NSF Graduate Research Fellow and Ph.D. student with Dr. David Hambright; BS Baylor University; Research interests in include aquatic ecology, botany and water resource management.

Email: khooker@ou.edu


Cruz, Marcos

Ph.D. student. Research interests include phylogenetics, bioinformatics, genomics, molecular evolution and population genetics. 

Email: marcos.cruz@ou.edu


Cueto Aparicio, Luis

Ph.D. student co-advised by Dr. Katharine Marske and Dr. Jeremy Ross; Research interests include phylogeography, ecology, and ornithology.

Email: l.cueto@ou.edu


Forehand, Cameron 

MS Student with Dr. Cameron Siler; BS Clemson University; Research interests include conservation biology, ecology, and herpetology. 

Email: Cameron.R.Forehand-1@ou.edu


Franzen, Alex J.

Ph.D. student with Dr. Caryn Vaughn. M.S.- Univ. of Minnesota. Research interests include community ecology, conservation genetics, evolutionary ecology of freshwater bivalves (unionoida), and freshwater ecosystems in general.

Email: ajfranzen@ou.edu


Fulton, Alex

M.S. student; BS University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Research interests include reptile and amphibian conservation-based research with direct implications for imperiled species. 

Email: amfulton@ou.edu


Goodenough, Katharine

Ph.D. student with Dr. Eli Bridge; BS Humboldt State University, M.S. San Diego State University; Research interests include ornithology, marine biology, tropical ecology and stable isotope applications in ecology.

Email: kate.goodenough@ou.edu


Grimmett, Claire

MS student with Dr. Dave Hambright, BA Yale University; Research interests include freshwater ecology and harmful algal blooms.

Email: claire.grimmett@ou.edu


Han, Donglin (Donny)

Ph.D. student in Cellular and Behavioral Program. Doing rotations at Dr. Ashlee Rowe’s Lab and Dr. Michael Markham’s Lab. Interested in investigating sensory physiology and electricphysiology in animals, ion channels function and weakly electric fish.  

Email: dhan2@ou.edu


Heiple, Zach

Research interests include macroevolutionary trends and diversification in fishes.

Email: zachheiple@ou.edu


Higgins, Ed

Alumni Fellow and Ph.D. student with Dr. Caryn Vaughn; BS Boston University. Research interests include freshwater ecology, ecosystem services and genetics.

Email: higginse@ou.edu


James, Anna

Ph.D. student with Dr. Alexandra Bentz; B.A. The College of Wooster. Research interests include behavioral endocrinology, physiological and behavioral responses to climate change, and transgenerational effects.

Email: anna.o.james-1@ou.edu


Kaur, Jasmeen

Ph.D. student with Dr. Alex Bentz; BS Indiana University - Bloomington; Research interests include maternal effects, testosterone, and phenotypic plasticity in songbirds.

Email: Jasmeen.Kaur-1@ou.edu


Kelley, Ethan

M.S. student with Dr. Katie Marske, BS- Univ. of Oklahoma. Research interests include entomology, biogeography, phylogeography, and chemical ecology.

Email: Ethan.A.Kelley-1@ou.edu


Kirsch, Madelyn

M.S. student with Dr. Hayley Lanier. BS from Washington State University. Research interests are driven by a love of salamanders and evolutionary biology.

Email: Madelyn.R.Kirsch-1@ou.edu


Kolbmann, Christina

Ph.D. student with Dr. Jeff Kelly, M.S. Southeastern Louisiana University, BS Canisius College. Research interests include animal behavior, ornithology, sexual selection, and conservation management.

Email: christinak@ou.edu


Leri, Faith

Ph.D. student with Dr. Laura Stein, M.S. Penn State University., Research interests include evolution, behavior, and plasticity. 

Email: faith.leri@ou.edu


Link, Austin

My research interests include evolutionary biology, developmental genetics, speciation, fitness/selection, ecology, and how each of these fields intersect with each other.

Email: Austin.C.Link-1@ou.edu


Lock, Lauren

Ph.D. student with Dr. Dan Becker. Research interests include relationships between wildlife disease dynamics and landscape ecology.

Email: laurenlock@ou.edu


Lumula, Harriet

Ph.D. student with Dr. JP Masly. BS Missouri University of Science and Technology. Research interests include genetics and evolutionary biology.

Email: hklumula@ou.edu


McCarthy, Rionach

PhD student with Dr. Laura Stein; B.S., Washington State University; Research interests: fish cognition, behavioral syndromes, social learning in fishes

Email: Justine.R.Mccarthy-1@ou.edu


McLimans, Chris

Ph.D. student with Dr. Karl D. Hambright. Research interests include aquatic ecology, microbial genomics, and climate change

Email: Christopher.J.Mclimans-1@ou.edu


Melendez Vasquez, Fernando

Ph.D. student with Dr. Dahiana Arcila; BS & M.S. University of Puerto Rico; Research interests include evolutionary history of pelagic fishes. Ecological and evolutionary implications of the development of endothermy in pelagic fishes. 

Email: fernando.melendez1@ou.edu


Minkin, Eve

M.S. student with Dr. Dave Hambright, BS from Eckerd College.

Email: eve.minkin@ou.edu


Morris, Madison

M.S. student with Dr. Ari Berkowitz, BS- Missouri S&T. Research interests include neurobiology and neurons involvement in central pattern generators (CPGs).

Email: mmorris@ou.edu


Nielsen, Forrest

MS student with Dr. Cameron Siler; BS Colorado State University, Colorado; Research Interests include conservation biology and herpetofauna population ecology.

Email: Forrest.P.Nielsen-1@ou.edu


Nourbakhsh, Mehrnoush

Ph.D. student with Dr. Michael Markham; BSc Isfahan University, Iran; MSc National Institute of Polytechnic and University, France. Research interests include neurobiology in weakly electric fish.

Email: mrey@ou.edu


O’Dell, Samuel

PhD student with Dr. James Hung; BS Humboldt State University, MS San Diego State

University; Research interests include pollinators, pollination, plant-pollinator networks, applied ecology, and biogeography.

Email: Samuel.ODell-1@ou.edu


Oakley, William

Ph.D. student with Dr. Eli Bridge; BA College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, MA The Citadel, Charleston, SC; Research interests include migration and population ecology of songbirds, wintering ecology of tidal marsh sparrows, the technology used to track migratory songbirds and science education and citizen science.

Email: wf.oakley@ou.edu


Pandit, Meelyn

PhD student with Drs. Eli Bridge and Jeremy Ross; BS Indiana University; M.S. Oklahoma State University. Research interests include ornithology, behavioral ecology, sexual selection, electrical engineering and computer programming.

Email: meelyn.pandit@ou.edu


Pedraza Marrón, Carmen

Ph.D. student with Dr. Ricardo Betancur; BS and MSc Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo; Research interests elucidating biogeographical and evolutionary processes shaping population structure and species diversity patterns in marine ecosystems.

Email: carmen.pedraza@ou.edu


Perera, Nu

Ph.D. student with Dr. Jeremy Ross, M.S. from Wichita State Univ. Research interests include wintering ecology of migratory birds and the conservation of birds.  

Email: nuperera@ou.edu


Premathilake, Dineesha

Ph.D. student with Dr. Katharine Marske; BS University of Kelaniya (Sri Lanka), M.S. University of Central Oklahoma; Research interests include comparative phylogeography, macroecology, and large-scale patterns of genetic variation of vertebrates.

Email: dineeshapr@ou.edu


Rosas-Puchuri, Ulises

Ph.D. student with Dr. Ricardo Betancur. BS Biological Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Peru), M.S. The George Washington University. Research interests include emerging approaches for phylogenetic analysis.


Santaquiteria Gil, Aintzane

Ph.D. student with Dr. Ricardo Betancur; BS University of Navarra (Spain), M.S. University of Tromsø (Norway); Research interests include fish evolution, phylogenomics and biogeography.

Email: a.santaquiteria@ou.edu


Shahrokhi, Golya

Ph.D. student with Dr. Michael Patten; BS Shahid Beheshti University, Iran; M.S. Texas State University-San Marcos. Research interests include genetic studies, evolution, ornithology and ecology.

Email: golya.shahrokhi-1@ou.edu


Smith, Caden

MS student with Dr. Ingo Schlupp; BS Mississippi State University; Research interests include behavioral ecology, sexual selection, and speciation.

Email: Caden.D.Smith-1@ou.edu


Smith, Sierra

Ph.D. candidate with Dr. Cameron Siler; BS University of Oklahoma. Research interests include microbiomes, ecology, venomics, genomics, and herpetology.

Email: sierrasmith@ou.edu; https://www.sierranicolesmith.com/


Strand, Alva

Ph.D. student with Dr. Jeffrey Kelly. Research interests include the ecology of seasonal avian migration, the impacts of climate change on migration, and radar aeroecology. 

Email: alvastrand@ou.edu


Theriot, Miranda

Ph.D. student with Dr. Hayley Lanier, M.S. University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Research interests include body size trends and responses to recent climate change in mammals. 

Email: mirandaktheriot@ou.edu


Trankina, Grace

M.S. student with Dr. Jeffrey Kelly; BS University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Research interests include migratory birds, artificial light at night, and radar aeroecology.

Email: gtrankina@ou.edu


Triemstra, Abigail

M.S. student with Dr. Eli Bridge; BS Calvin Universtiy; Research interests include avian ecology and ecotoxicology.

Email: abigail.a.triemstra-1@ou.edu


Troyer, Emily

Ph.D. student with Dr. Dahiana Arcila; BA & BS Ohio State University, M.S. King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia; Research interests include phylogenomics and fish evolution.

Email: emily.troyer@ou.edu


Verrett, Taylor

Ph.D. student with Dr. Daniel Becker; BS Texas A&M University; M.S. Western Kentucky University. Research interests center on songbird disease ecology, including migration-parasite interactions and urban ecology.

Email: tbverrett@ou.edu


Wersebe, Matthew

Ph.D. student with Dr. Larry Weider, BS from SUNY: Binghamton; Research interests include phenotypic plasticity, secondary salinization, aquatic ecology, and evolution.

Email: matthew.wersebe@ou.edu


Wiser, Shannon

M.S. student with Dr. Michael Markham; BS The University of Oklahoma; Research interests include animal communication, biophysics, and the behavioral and metabolic constraints caused by ecological changes.

Email: shannonwiser@ou.edu


Zumpano, Kyle

Ph.D. student with Dr. Chris Lemon. Research interests include sensory neurobiology, neural circuits, and taste and thermosensation. 

Email: kylezump@ou.edu