Michael S. Werner

Principal Investigator

Education and work experience:

  • Post-doc: The Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology; Department of Integrative Evolutionary Biology (Tübingen, Germany)

  • PhD: Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, The University of Chicago (Chicago, IL)

  • B.S.: Molecular Biology, Minor in Chemistry: Stetson University (DeLand, FL)

Julie Jung


Education and work experience:

  • PhD: Biology, Boston University

  • M.S.: Biology, Boston University

  • B.S.: Biology & Environmental Science (Honors), Williams College (Williamstown MA)


  • Warkentin K.M., J. Jung, J.G. McDaniel. 2021. “Research approaches in mechanosensory-cued hatching and the iterative development of playback methods for red-eyed treefrog embryos.” Chapter 8, in: P.S.M. Hill, V. Mazzoni, N. Stritih Peljhan, M. Virant-Doberlet, A. Wessel (Eds.). Animal Signals and Communication (series). Springer, Berlin Heidelberg, pp xx-xx (in press).

  • Jung J., S.J. Serrano-Rojasu, K.M. Warkentin. 2020. “Multimodal mechanosensing for escapehatching decisions of red-eyed treefrogs.” Journal of Experimental Biology.

* Media coverage in Inside JEB. Cover image for Volume 223, Issue 24.

  • Jung J., S.J. Kimu, S.P. Ariasu, J.G. McDaniel, K.M.Warkentin. 2019. “How do red-eyed treefrog embryos detect snake attacks? Assessing the role of vestibular mechanoreception.” Journal of Experimental Biology. Full text.

*Media coverage in Inside JEB. Short list for JEB’s 2019 Outstanding Paper Prize.

  • Warkentin K.M., J. Jung, L.A. Rueda Solano, J.G. McDaniel. 2019. “Ontogeny of escapehatching decisions: discrimination among vibrational cues changes developmentally as predicted from costs of sampling and false alarms.” Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. 73:51.

  • Warkentin K.M., J. Cuccaro-Diazu, B.A. Guell, J. Jung, S.J. Kimu, K.L. Cohen. 2017. “Developmental onset of the escape-hatching response in red-eyed treefrogs depends on cue type.” Animal Behaviour. 129:103-112.

Shelley Reich

PhD candidate

Education and work experience:

  • M.S.: Biology, Walla Walla University (Walla Walla, WA)

  • B.S.: Biology, Andrews University (Berrien Springs, MI)

*J.N. Andrews Honors Scholar, summa cum laude

  • Project Coordinator: North Fork John Day Watershed Council


  • Cooper, J. C., Lukacs, A., Reich, S., Schauer, T., Imhof, A., Phadnis, N., & Larracuente, A. M. (2019). Altered Localization of Hybrid Incompatibility Proteins in Drosophila. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 36(8), 1783–1792.

Thomas King

PhD candidate

Education and work experience:

  • Lab technician at the University of Utah in Nitin Phadnis's lab, School of Biological Sciences

  • B.A.: Biochemistry (Honors) & English, magna cum laude, Bowdoin College (Brunswick, ME)


  • King TD, Leonard CJ, Cooper JC, Nguyen S, Joyce EF, Phadnis N. (2019) Recurrent losses and rapid evolution of the condensin II complex in insects. Molecular Biology and Evolution 36(10) 2195-2204.

  • King TD, Johnson JE, Bateman JR. (2019) Position effects influence transvection in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics 213(4) 1289-1299. (Highlighted in Genetics Spotlight 2019)

Tobias Loschko

Lab Specialist

Education and work experience:

  • Biotechnology technician at the Max Plank Institute for Developmental Biology in Ralf J. Sommer’s laboratory, Department of Integrative Evolutionary Biology (Tübingen, Germany).

  • Staatsschule für Gartenbau und Landwirtschaft (Hohenheim, Germany).


  • Comparative genomics and community curation further improve gene annotations in the nematode Pristionchus pacificus. Athanasouli M, Witte H, Weiler C, Loschko T, Eberhardt G, Sommer RJ, Rödelsperger C. BMC Genomics. 2020 Oct 12;21(1):708. doi: 10.1186/s12864-020-07100-0.

  • Werner, M. S., Sieriebriennikov, B., Prabh, N., Loschko, T., Lanz, C. & Sommer, R. J. (2018): Young genes have distinct gene structure, epigenetic profiles, and transcriptional regulation. Genome Research, 28, 1675-1687.

  • Werner, M., Sieriebriennikov, B., Loschko, T., Namdeo, S., Lenuzzi, M., Renahan, T., Dardiry, M., Raj, D. & Sommer, R. J. (2017): Environmental influence on Pristionchus pacificus mouth-form through different culture methods. Scientific Reports, 7: 7207.

Samantha (Sam) Nestel


  • University of Utah - Honors program

  • ACCESS student

Benjamin Natividad


  • University of Utah

  • Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) award

  • Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Club

  • University of Utah Model United Nations

Hannah F. Lee


  • University of Utah

  • Member of Marching Utes


Education and work experience:

  • Chicago Canine Academy (Chicago, IL)

  • Accomplishments: listed 'first dog in space'