Bret Payseur, Principal Investigator

payseur[at]wisc[dot]edu

Bret uses genetics and genomics to understand evolution. He studies a wide range of evolutionary topics, including speciation, natural selection, and recombination. Bret earned a bachelor’s degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Anthropology from the University of Colorado, a Master’s degree in Evolutionary Biology from Northwestern University, and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona. He received postdoctoral training at Cornell University. Bret enjoys helping his students discover the power and excitement of scientific research. Outside the lab, Bret is fascinated by psychology, history, and politics. He loves stimulating conversation, seafood, and live jazz. Bret feels very fortunate to live in Madison.

Mark Nolte, Postdoctoral Researcher

mjnolte[at]wisc[dot]edu

Mark is interested in combining techniques and concepts from genomics, developmental biology and functional genetics to understand the evolution of complex traits. Currently, he is assessing organ-specific gene expression in the Gough Island house mouse to better understand the genetic mechanisms underlying the evolution of island gigantism. Mark received Bachelor’s degrees in Molecular Biology and Geology from Brigham Young University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas-MD Anderson Cancer Center that focused on mouse limb development. He is a former Postdoctoral Fellow with the UW-Madison Genomic Sciences Training Program. Mark enjoys science journalism, studying religious history and altruism, reading National Geographic, and being outdoors with his wife and four children.

Amy Dapper, Postdoctoral Researcher

dapper[at]wisc[dot]edu

Amy is interested in understanding the origin and maintenance of genetic variation. Her research employs both theoretical and empirical approaches to understand this broad question from the top-down by asking what evolutionary forces select for mechanisms that create genetic variation, such as mutation, sex, and recombination, as well as from the bottom-up by asking how selection acts on classes of genes that exhibit elevated levels of polymorphism and rapid evolution, such as reproductive genes. Amy received her Bachelor's degree in biology from the College of William and Mary and her Ph.D. from Indiana University-Bloomington. She is currently supported by a Genomic Sciences Training Program Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Richard Wang, Graduate Student

rjwang[at]wisc[dot]edu

Richard is working towards a Ph.D. in genetics in the Payseur lab with research focused on how meiotic recombination rate evolves. Before joining the lab, he completed a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Molecular Cell Biology at UC Berkeley and a Master’s degree in Public Health at Drexel University. Richard is excited about the increasing role that computation plays in biology research and the kinds of questions it allows us to ask. Richard is currently supported by a Computation and Informatics in Biology and Medicine traineeship. Outside of science, Richard enjoys cooking, gardening, martial arts, and the Internet.

Michelle Parmenter, Graduate Student

parmenter[at]wisc[dot]edu

Michelle is interested in the evolution of complex traits. She studies the genetic mechanisms underlying the evolution of extreme body size in the Gough Island house mouse population. Michelle earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biology from the University of Oregon. Graduate school has allowed Michelle to study the biological phenomena she finds most fascinating, including the evolution of extreme phenotypes, ecological evolution, and evolution on islands. Although an Oregon native, Michelle enjoys the culture of Madison. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, film, camping and long backpacking trips.

April Peterson, Graduate Student

alpeterson7[at]wisc[dot]edu

April is interested in variation in meiotic recombination rates and how the degree of sexual dimorphism, or heterochiasmy, vary across populations. She uses immunofluorescence microscopy and computer vision techniques to quantify crossover number and placement in mouse oocytes and spermatocytes. Before joining the Payseur lab she earned her BA in biology from Lawrence University and subsequently worked as a research technician at University of Chicago. April enjoys cooking, biking and contributing to the Madison ultimate frisbee community.

Megan Frayer, Graduate Student

mfrayer[at]wisc[dot]edu

Megan is interested in understanding the genetics of speciation. Specifically, she is interested in using the genomic signatures found in natural hybrid zones to better understand the factors affecting gene flow in those zones, which will eventually lead to full reproductive isolation or the breakdown of barriers to reproduction. She is currently applying genomic ancestry approaches to investigate hybrid mice from a hybrid zone between two subspecies of house mice. Megan previously attended Michigan State University, where she studied Zoology with a concentration in Genetics. She is currently a graduate student in the Genetics Training Program.

Jered Stratton, Graduate Student

jstratton2[at]wisc[dot]edu

Jered is interested in the genetics of adaptation in complex systems. Before joining the Payseur lab in Fall of 2016, he graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in Genetics while conducting research at the National Animal Disease Center - USDA. Outside of science, Jered enjoys strategy games, reading and playing guitar and mandolin.

Peicheng Jing, Programmer Analyst

jing[at]wisc[dot]edu

Peicheng earned his BS in Biochemistry from Peking University and MS in both Biochemistry and Computer Sciences from UW-Madison. He has worked on a variety of research projects in the past, including: generation of transgenic tobacco expressing human insulin gene, purification of LDH and ADP-ribosyl cyclase from animal tissues and monoclonal antibody generation, T cell response to SIV (Rhesus version of HIV), differentiation of human embryonic stem cells to islet cells, and microarray study of barley aleurone. He joined Payseur lab in 2007, and currently studies human genetic polymorphisms with focus on genome-wide microsatellite variation.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Lea Goren

(lgoren[at]wisc[dot]edu)

Erin Lalor

(elalor[at]wisc[dot]edu)

Megan Latsch

(mlatsch[at]wisc[dot]edu)

Jake Nelson

(jpnelson5[at]wisc[dot]edu)

Hannah Van Rossum

(hvanrossum[at]outlook[dot]com)

Claire Walker

(cmwalker4[at]wisc[dot]edu)