Monica is an evolutionary biologist who is most fascinated by pathogens, both for their complex lifestyles and the insights they provide on basic evolutionary processes. She completed her doctorate from Pennsylvania State University in the Fall of 2019 where she worked on understanding how various aspects of antimicrobial drug therapy affect the evolution of drug resistance by pathogens. While working on her doctorate she became interested in better understanding what drives the rapid evolution of parasites. She is currently interested in using experiments with digital organisms to further explore what types of environments promote or hinder pathogen evolution.
Siliang graduated from Zhejiang University with a B.A. in Biological Sciences in 2018. He focused on Entomology and Phylogenic Analysis in his undergraduate research. When entering graduate school in 2019, Siliang joined Dr. Luis Zaman's lab while collaborating with his primary advisor Dr. Jianzhi Zhang. He is expanding his interest in computational evolution with an emphasis on digital organisms, and hopes to use those systems to understand the more opaque aspects of the evolutionary process.
Lamese is an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan looking to major in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. She currently hopes to become a clinical Pathologist but is also deeply fascinated by concepts in evolutionary biology. She is interested in expanding her experiences and understanding of the evolutionary process by studying bacteria-phage interactions, digital organisms, and interacting with experts. Some of Lamese's interests beyond science include oil painting, reading, and playing soccer.
Katie Torkelson-Regan is an environmental science teacher at Washtenaw Technical Middle College in Ann Arbor, MI. Over the summer of 2018, she worked in the lab as an RET student and did research on the cost of resistance in parasite-host populations. Outside of evolutionary biology, she loves ecology and conservation biology-- anything that helps her learn about the systems of the natural world and deepens her appreciation for it! As a teacher, Katie's passions are teaching students about sustainability and helping students see themselves as scientists. When she's not teaching or learning about biology, Katie gardens, hikes, knits, listens to podcasts, and drinks coffee.
I became interested in evolution because of an undergraduate computer science class. It's still amazing to me that we can bottle up evolution in an algorithm, and yet are still just scratching the surface of understanding the biodiversity and complexity it has produced.
One of the challenges is that evolution creates diversity and complexity, which then strongly influences further evolution. Untangling this feedback loop between what evolution produces and what then becomes selectively favorable motivates much of my work. Host-parasite coevolution is a prime instance of this complex feedback loop at what I consider the core of evolutionary biology.
Coming to evolutionary biology via computer science has left its marks on my academic interests. I study host-parasite coevolution using a mixture of computational and microbial experiments. I treat computer systems as another experimental system, much like E. coli and Elephants are two living systems that can be studied in surprisingly similar ways.