Lab pictures

July 2023. Lab retreat, Sam’s Point, Minnewaska State Park Preserve. From left to right: Xia, Yufei, Vivian, Bing-Jun, Cong, Alice, Shawn, UnJin, Eli, Sam, Lucas, Nico, and Li.

July 2022. From left to right: Priyanka, Yufei, Nico & Lucas, Vivian, Alice, Tina, Eric, Li, Chris, Sam, Cong, and Yutaro.

Li Zhao :  Associate Professor
Ph.D. Chinese Academy of Sciences

Li is investigating the genetic mechanisms of the origin and spread of de novo genes. She is also interested in the role of spatially varying selection in phenotypic evolution.



Nicolas Svetec : Senior Research Associate
Ph.D. University of Munich

Nico is  an evolutionary geneticist with a particular interest in adaptation. His research focuses on the phenotypic and genetic innovations that allow organisms to adapt to their environments.



Junhui Peng : Postdoctoral Researcher
Ph.D. University of Science and Technology of China

Junhui is interested in studying the structure, function and evolution of novel proteins encoded by de novo genes.



UnJin Lee : Postdoctoral Researcher
Ph.D. University of Chicago

UnJin is interested in understanding how natural selection and genomic architecture shape one another. He is currently exploring the role that gene regulation and rapid evolvability play in influencing de novo gene origination.


Bing-Jun Wang : Postdoctoral Researcher
Ph.D. Wuhan University

Bing-Jun is interested in studying the evolution and function of evolutionarily dynamic genes.




Airi Sato : Postdoctoral Researcher
Ph.D. Tokyo Metropolitan University

Airi is interested in the genomic and genetic mechanisms underlying novel behaviors in Drosophila.




Alice Gadau : Graduate Student
B.S. Arizona State University

Alice studies sensory receptor evolution in the Drosophila suzukii species complex.




Yufei Wang : Visiting Graduate Student
B.S. Xi’an Jiaotong University

Yufei is interested in the function of de novo genes in Drosophila reproductive systems.



Cong Li : Graduate Student
B.S. Zhejiang University

Cong  is interested in studying how novel genes affect novel behaviors. He is also exploring other types of phenotypic and functional innovation.



Shawn Mozeika : Graduate Student
B.S. Northeastern University

Shawn  is interested in studying how the evolution of sensory systems gives rise to novel behaviors.




Eli Woloshin : Research Assistant
B.S. Oberlin College

Eli is interested in the emergence of new genes and the evolutionary dynamics that enable these genes to become fixed in populations and species. He is also interested in gene-environment interactions and aims to use both computational and experimental approaches to investigate these areas in Drosophila and other organisms.

Sasha Mills : Research Assistant
B.S. University of Pennsylvania

Sasha is interested in investigating the genes that impact novel and known phenotypic and behavioral differences in a variety of Drosophila species.





Former lab members:

Postdoctoral Researchers:

Eran Even-Tov: Data scientist in Tel Aviv.

Sigi Benjamin: Senior scientist at Eurofin

Graduate Students

Sam Khodursky: MD at University of Pennsylvania

Eric Bo Zheng: Tri-Intstitutional MD-PhD student

Evan Witt: Computational Biologist at Biomarin Pharmaceutical

Research Assistants

Vivian Yan: Graduate student at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Christopher Langer: Graduate student at New York University Medical School

Sylvia Durkin: Graduate student at UC Berkeley

Undergraduate Students

James Pham (Cornell University,  Tri-I Gateways to the Laboratory Summer Program): Cornell University

Yutaro Tanaka (Undergraduate student, Columbia University): Research assistant at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Dulce Moran (visiting student from Bard-Rockefeller program): Premed senior at Bard College

Tina Sun (Undergraduate): Undergraduate at NYU

Eamen Ho (Undergraduate, Hunter College): Public health master’s degree

Xin Yu Zhu Jiang (undergraduate, Hunter College): Graduate student at Weill Cornell Medical College

Miriam Kopyto (SSRP summer high school student): Undergraduate at Yale University

Yuanhang Jiang (visiting summer student): Graduate student at University at Oxford

Michelle Timlin (visiting student, Trinity College Dublin): Analytics consultant, Ireland