The Miller Lab
Former members of the lab
Group photo: MILLER LAB Fall 2019
Dr. Daniel Sasson. Daniel completed his Ph.D. in 2015. He was primarily advised by Dr. Jane Brockmann and was an important member of our lab as well. Daniel worked on sperm competition in horseshoe crabs and the leaf-footed cactus bug. He now works for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
Dr. Wendy Helmey-Hartman. Wendy completed her Ph.D. in 2014. She worked on sexual selection in harlequin bugs.
Dr. Jennifer Hamel. Jennifer was a postdoctoral researcher in the lab from 2012 to 2014. Her research in the lab focused on the selective forces affecting across-species mating in squash bugs. She is now an Associate Professor at Elon University.
Allison Bechard. Allison served as a research technician in the lab from 2009-2011. After leaving the lab she began a Ph.D. in neurobiology. She is now Assistant Professor of Psychology and Director of Neuroscience at Geneseo, the State University of New York.
Katherine Short. Katherine joined us from the University of Exeter in the UK as an international visiting scholar. Her MSc thesis work investigated chemical ecology and context-dependent attraction in the leaf-footed cactus bug, Narnia femorata.
Iain Gordon. ain jumped into our busy lab life for several months in 2011 as an international visiting scholar. He investigated the heritability of male size and weaponry as part of his MSc degree in Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology at the University of Exeter in the UK.
Aitor Álvarez Fernández. Aitor joined us in 2011 to conduct research for his MSc degree at the University of Exeter. His thesis investigated phenotypic correlations between male-male competitive success and male attractiveness. Aitor continued on to a Ph.D. program at Oxford University. He is now a Senior Social Media Analyst at VISFO, UK.
Luke Hein. Luke was a technician in the lab in 2011. He was tremendous help with our quantitative genetics study, putting in endless hours breeding insects and keeping them organized. He was also the lab videographer, completing two videos for the lab during his time with us.
Duncan Procter. Duncan spent part of 2010 as an international visiting scholar in the Miller lab. During this time he conducted research for his MSc degree in Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology at the University of Exeter in the UK. His thesis investigated the importance of social context for success in male-male competitions.
Paul N. Joseph. Paul was a graduate student in the lab from 2014 until 2017. During this time he investigated factors influencing the growth of testes and sperm characteristics.
Kevin Moore completed his B.A. in Ecology and Evolution at the University of Colorado in Boulder in 2016. He joined us soon thereafter as a research technician.
Grant McDonald. Grant spent part of 2010 as an international visiting scholar in the Miller Lab. During this time he worked intensely with us on a genotype-by-environment project in cactus bugs. After leaving the lab he moved to Oxford University to work on a Ph.D. He is now a faculty member at the Department of Ecology, University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest.
Ummat Somjee finished his Ph.D. in 2018. Ummat's graduate work investigated animal movement, behavior, metabolism, and sexual selection. After graduating, Ummat moved on to highly sought-after fellowships including the Earl S. Tupper Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution and the Stengl Wyer Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Texas.
Pablo joined the Miller Lab in 2012 on a University of Florida Graduate Fellowship, and he completed his Ph.D. in 2017. Pablo left UF in 2019 after postdoctoral work. During his time at UF, he accomplished many projects on the evolutionary ecology of insect morphology. Pablo is now the Center Director at the Council on International Educational Exchange - Monteverde, Costa RIca
Zachary Emberts joined us in 2014 as a Biology Ph.D. student, co-advised with Colette St. Mary. Zach worked extensively on the phenomenon of autotomy, the ability to drop limbs. He traveled globally and received multiple awards for his research. After completing his Ph.D. Zach moved to Arizona to work on a NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship. He is now a faculty member at Oklahoma State University.
Dr. Michael Forthman joined our research team in April 2016 as a Postdoctoral Associate and stayed with us until 2020. Dr. Forthman received a B.S. in Biology at the University of Arkansas - Little Rock in 2008. He received a Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of California - Riverside. Dr. Forthman has been working towards constructing a phylogeny of the Coreidae to investigate the evolution of fighting styles and hind leg weapon diversification. Our collaboration continues even as Michael has moved on to the California Department of Food & Agriculture where he serves as an Insect Biosystematist.
Daniela joined the lab as a M.S. student in 2017 after completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She had many glamorous field jobs before joining us including working on the Kluane Red Squirrel Project in British Columbia, studying turtles at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, and studying birds in Peru. For her M.S. degree, Daniela focused on understanding the influence of diet on female reproduction as well as the development of male weaponry and male-male competition.
Tamsin Woodman joined us in 2019 from the University of Manchester to complete a research internship as part of her undergraduate degree. She spent nearly a year working with us and during that time completed an experiment on nutritional effects on insect biomechanics.
Lauren Cirino completed both a M.S. degree and her Ph.D. (2020) in the Miller Lab. Lauren focused on the ecology and evolution of insect reproduction. Lauren is an outstanding teacher, and won the NACTA Graduate Student Teaching Award. After completing her Ph.D., Lauren immediately began postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Rafael Rodriguez.
Caroline completed her B.S. at the University of Michigan in 2018 and joined us as a lab manager for Fall 2020 through January 2022. She kept the lab running smoothly in the depths of the pandemic. Her focus was research coordination, though she also mentored two recent graduates on professional development and independent research.
Ginny Greenway received a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford in 2013, before undertaking a PhD at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. Whilst there, she focused on the causes and evolutionary consequences of high rates of reproductive failure in lygaeid seed bugs. She joined the Miller Lab in 2017, and over the course of her four-year postdoc she advanced our understanding of the evolution of testes, reproductive interference, and polyandry. In the final year of her postdoc, she moved back to the U.K. to pursue collaborative research with Prof. Walter Federle and Dr. David Labonte on insect biomechanics.
Steve joined us as a M.S. student in Fall 2020 and immediately started on a project to examine the influence of autotomy (limb loss) on fitness in female insects. His research showed that females can drop a hind limb during development with virtually no detectable effects on fitness-related traits. He is a proud member of the Huron Potawatomi tribe and earned his B.S. at the University of Michigan in 2018 with a major in ecology and evolutionary biology and a minor in applied statistics.
Gayatri joined us as a research intern in Summer 2022 while working to complete her BS/MS in Biology from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali. Her research interests lie mainly in evolution, behavior and theoretical biology. In the Miller Lab, Gayatri worked together with Yichen Li to investigate the influence of nutrition on the injuries sustained from male-male combat in leaf-footed bugs. In her free time, Gayatri enjoys playing instruments and reading.
Sam completed a B.S. in Molecular Environmental Biology and a B.A. in Psychology at the University of California Berkeley followed by an M.S. in Biological Sciences at Purdue University. He joined the Miller Lab as a Ph.D. student in 2018 and began studying feeding adaptations in leaf-footed bugs. His dissertation research focuses on phenotypic plasticity in mouthpart size as well as social feeding behaviors. Sam enjoys writing about a broad range of scientific and environmental topics for general audiences and was awarded a AAAS Mass Media Fellowship to work at the Smithsonian Magazine in Summer 2022. Sam finished his Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Ecology in Fall 2022. https://samzlotnik.weebly.com/
Photo and content credit:
The Miller Lab at the University of Florida/IFAS
Gainesville, FL USA 32611