Bret Payseur, Principal Investigator


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


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.

April Peterson, Graduate Student


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


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


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.

Mikey Kartje, Graduate Student


Mikey joined the Payseur lab in Spring 2018, and is broadly interested in population and evolutionary genetics. He is currently leveraging linkage maps and population genomic data to study the effects of linked selection on levels of genetic diversity in wild populations of house mouse. Mikey previously earned a Master’s degree in Biological Sciences from Mississippi State University in Starkville, MS, and a B.S. in Biology from Truman State University in Kirksville, MO. Outside of the lab, he enjoys outdoor recreation, music and visiting family in Southern Illinois.

Peicheng Jing, Programmer Analyst


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

Jenna Elizabeth Ehlert

Liane Kee

Tyra Moyer

Nikki Prado

Catherine Eldridge