Siobain Duffy

Siobain is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources. She is interested in the molecular evolution of fast-evolving viruses, specifically those with RNA and single-stranded DNA genomes  She studies the emergence of viruses on novel hosts using experimental evolution, conducts computational research on emergent RNA and ssDNA viruses, and improves phylogenetic methods for viral molecular epidemiology.

She gets to think about an even wide ranger of microorganisms in her role as as member of ASM’s Council on Microbial Sciences and as a member of the ICTV committee for bacterial and archaeal viruses.

Natasia Jacko

Natasia is a recent graduate in Microbiology who is pursing her MPH in Epidemiology.  She is interested in the study of virology and epidemiology and is currently studying ssDNA viruses. As lab technician, she contributes to all of our wet lab and some of our computational research.  She is independently working on a proof of concept project on the lethal mutagenesis of ssDNA viruses.

Mansha Seth Pasricha

Mansha holds a B.Sc (honors) in Biochemistry from Delhi University and a PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Rutgers University. Her research interests are to understand mechanisms of molecular evolution. In her PhD project she has explored the evolution of cell death proteins in the archaeon, Haloferax volcanii.  Currently, she is a teaching-research postdoc exploring how epistasis affects host range expansion in the model RNA virus phi6. She has helped middle school, high school students, and undergraduates generate and characterize host range mutants of phi6 as part of her research project. She also teaches in the department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources.

Erik Lavington

Erik is interested in group-level genetics and computational methods. He received his his B.S in Biology at the University of Kansas and his  PhD in Genetics at Stony Brook University. His PhD thesis combined population and experimental genetics in fruit flies to generate hypotheses of metabolic flux control in the glycolysis/gluconeogenesis pathway. He continued his work in population genetics of fruit flies in Andrew Kern's lab, studying the effects of large chromosomal inversions on genome-wide patterns of gene expression. He is currently contributing to knowledge and methods for circular rep-encoding single-stranded DNA (CRESS DNA) virus phylogeny by using machine learning methods for classification and feature selection in CRESS DNA viruses. 

J Steen Hoyer

Steen is a postdoc working on the evolutionary potential of plant viruses. He has worked on plant development, heat shock, RNA silencing, and disease resistance at Swarthmore College, the University of Delaware, Oregon State University, and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center; he earned his PhD in Computational and Systems Biology from Washington University in St. Louis. Steen is contributing to a collaborative NSF Partnership for International Research and Education project focused on understanding the viruses causing the cassava mosaic disease epidemic in Africa. He is using high-throughput sequencing of experimentally-evolved populations to probe selective constraints and bottlenecks affecting these ssDNA begomoviruses—see  

Lisa Bono

Lisa is a teaching/research postdoc who is studying the evolutionary ecology of viruses. She is broadly interested in niche expansion, and uses experimental evolution of the RNA phage phi6 to test the classic explanations of fitness tradeoffs.  She is a Rutgers alumna who studied at Ohio University (MS), the University of North Carolina (PhD), Brooklyn College and Yale University (postdoc). 

LaShanda Williams

LaShanda is an alumna of Virginia Commonwealth University (BA Anthropology/BS Sociology) and New York University (MS Anthropology) who is interested in the coevolution of humans and their pathogens.  She is a fifth year PhD student in Ecology & Evolution who is pursuing research on how dental microflora changed as a result of the contemporary antibiotic-using era.  She has been awarded funding for her microbiome research using collections at the Smithsonian and from the NSF.  She is also a museum educator at at the American Museum of Natural History.

Alvin Crespo

Alvin is a second year graduate student, in the Ecology and Evolution graduate program. He has a B.S. in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez Campus.  He is interested in how viral interactions shapes their evolution, especially during coinfection.

Willard Mbewe

Willard is a visiting PhD student (Makerere University) from Malawi. He is working on Genetic characterization and epidemiology of Cassava brown streak viruses (Ipomovirus) from east and central-southern Africa. He is interested in understanding plant viral phylogeography and evolutionary dynamics that shape emergence and distribution of plant viruses.

...and maybe you?

Lab Alumni


Eric Ho, postdoc, now assistant professor, Lafayette College

Li Li, now raising a family

Graduate Students:

Allison Hicks, MS, now a PhD student at Harvard University

Aubrey Watson, MS, now a laboratory technician at Contrafect

Chris Njagi, MA, now a teacher in Kenya

Cody Wain, MS

Yee Mey Seah, PhD student, now a postdoc in the Hillesland lab at University of Washington Bothell

Daniel Stern Cardinale, PhD student, now an assistant teaching professor in General Biology at Rutgers University

Lele Zhao, PhD student, now a postdoc in the Fraser lab at Oxford Big Data Institute

Alison Lima, visiting PhD student from Brazil, now an assistant professor at Universidade Federal de Uberlândia

Roberto Sobrinho, visiting PhD student from Brazil, now a postdoc at Universidade Federal de Alagoas


Jenn McConnell, now a research associate at Weill Cornell Medical College

Undergraduate researchers:

Raffia Ahmed

Kevin Apodaca

Kendra Avinger

Patrick Ayoola

Cassandra Burdziak

Victoria Buchholz

Stefania Davia

Kate DeRosa

Shamyla Din

Preshita Gadkari

Jacqueline Gagnon

Jessica Grandjean

Ronica Jeannot

Joan Kuchie

Kira Loh

German Lagunas Robles

Hector Loyola Irizarry

Sherina Lawrence

Christopher Lin

Shannon Loelius

Dylan McClung

Travis Mok

Karen Nicolas

Lillian Nichols

Yuliya Olifer

Amy Patel

Vasvi Patel

Hermano Pereira

Brenna Sprella

Dragos Stemate

Sumbel Yaqoov

David Wakim

People in the Lab