The Ramírez Lab

University of California - Davis

Lab in summer 2017

Current Lab Members

Philipp Brand, Graduate Student

Philipp received his B.Sc. in Biology from the University of Dusseldorf (Germany). Philipp pursued his Masters degree, also at the University of Dusseldorf (Germany), for which he studied the evolutionary history and the patterns of selection of olfactory receptor genes in a pair of sister lineages of euglossine bees. Philipp joined the Ramírez lab and the Population Biology Graduate Group in 2013.

Michael Daigle, Undergraduate Student

Michael is a fourth year Cell Biology major student. Michael is analyzing patterns of speciation in Central American Orchid Bees by sequencing several of their odorant receptors.

Wilson Frantine, Visiting Graduate Student

Wilson is a Ph.D. candidate at the State University of Londrina (Brazil). His work focuses on the phylogeography and population genetics of multiple species of euglossine bees from the Atlantic Forest. His research is evaluating the influence of quaternary climatic change in the diversification across the geographic distribution of several bee species in the Atlantic Forest.

Micah Freedman, Graduate Student

Micah received his B.S. in Entomology and Plant Sciences from Cornell University. He worked in André Kessler's chemical ecology lab, where his research focused on the ecology and evolution of floral scent, plant mating system evolution, and inducible plant defenses against herbivory. Micah is currently interested in the role that odorants play in reproductive isolation of Gongora orchids and Euglossa bees.

Maria Fernanda Guizar Amador, Graduate Student

During her Masters, Fernanda worked with comparative genomics of archaeobotanical samples of chili peppers (Capsicum annuum) as an approach to understanding the process of domestication. Now, Fernanda is interested in the evolution of secondary metabolism in plants, and how these metabolites may play a role in ecological interactions and plant evolution.

Kirsten Hodgson, Undergraduate Student

Kirsten is a fourth year undergraduate pursuing a B.S. in Biological Sciences at UC Davis. She is currently working with Nick Saleh to explore the mechanisms of eusociality in Euglossa dilemma nests, particularly through analysis of female relatedness and diversity in cuticular hydrocarbon production.

Asia Jones, Undergraduate Student

Asia is a senior in the college of Biological Sciences, majoring in Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity at UC Davis. She is working with Micah Freedman to understand monarch (Danaus plexippus) larvae coloration plasticity and the impacts that these differences in color may have on fitness.

Santiago Ramírez, Assistant Professor

Santiago received his B.Sc. in Biology at the Universidad de los Andes (Colombia). He pursued his Ph.D. at Harvard University (advisor Naomi Pierce) and conducted postdoctoral work at UC Berkeley (in the lab of Neil Tsutsui). Santiago is broadly interested in studying the adaptations, speciation processes, and ecological determinants that influence insect-plant associations. His work combines multiple approaches including ecological genomics, molecular phylogenetics, population genetics, chemical ecology, and good old-fashioned natural history.

Nicholas Saleh, Graduate Student

Nick Saleh received his B.S. in Biological Sciences from Cornell University, where he studied mate choice, speciation and hybridization in crickets. He then worked as the lab manager for the Morehouse lab at the University of Pittsburgh, where he studied sexual selection and patterns of diversification in butterflies. Nick joined the Ramirez lab in 2014.

Prospective students

Prospective students and postdocs click here


Carly Cheung, Undergraduate

Carly majored in Microbiology. She worked with Philipp Brand to investigate the evolution of olfactory receptors genes in several species of Euglossa bees. Carly is broadly interested in evolution and ecology; she enjoys learning about the evolutionary mechanisms that shape traits in organisms.

Julie Cridland, Postdoc

Julie's work has focused on the population dynamics of structural variants, such as duplications and inversions, that are segregating within a population, how these variants may generate new genes or associate new regulatory sequence with existing genes, and the processes by which these variants may lead to fixed differences between populations. Julie has also investigated transposable elements and how the may affect the regulation of nearby genes. Julie is currently investigating how geographic and environmental variation may interact with genetic variation to result in local adaptation.

Cheryl Dean, Laboratory Manager

Cheryl received her B.Sc. in Biology from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Cheryl went to work at Bodega Marine Laboratory as a field ecologist but soon discovered that population genetics is her passion. She worked in a genetics laboratory at NOAA NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife where she specialized in using genetic tools for managing wildlife and fish species. Cheryl interests include innovative molecular genetic techniques, developing databases, and mentoring. Cheryl joined the Ramírez Lab as laboratory manager in 2013.

James Fong, Undergraduate Student

James is a Plant Biology major and Entomology minor. He is the secretary of the U.C. Davis Entomology Club and treasurer of the Botany club. He also works at the Botanical Conservatory and volunteers at the California Academy of Sciences. James is currently working with Philipp Brand to investigate the divergence of Euglossa dilemma and Euglossa viridissima. In addition to working with bees in the lab, James also has his own beehive and carnivorous plant collection in his Alameda backyard.

Molly Hetherington-Rauth, Visiting Student

Molly received her B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Davis. She is interested in investigating natural variation in populations and how such variation translates into the vast biodiversity that we observe. Currently she is working on characterizing scent phenotypes among orchids of the genus Gongora. In the future Molly hopes to pursue graduate school. Molly joined the Ramírez Lab in 2013.

Tess Linden, Visiting Student

Tess received her B.S. in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, where she conducted research in the genetics of pigmentation patterning in Peromyscus mice. Tess joined the Ramirez lab as a visiting student, and she spent nearly a year in the field station La Gamba (Costa Rica) conducting research on the chemical ecology and behavioral ecology of plant-pollinator associations between euglossine bees and Gongora orchids.

Morgen Owens, Visiting Student

Morgen Owens is a third year undergraduate student majoring in Biology at Howard University. She enjoys research especially in evolution and ecology. She will be working in the Ramirez lab during the summer of 2015.

Marjorie Weber, CPB Postdoctoral Fellow link

Marjorie is interested in how ecological interactions impact phenotypic evolution and diversification across evolutionary scales. Marjorie received her Ph.D. in Anurag Agrawal's lab at Cornell University in 2014, and she was the CPB Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Davis, co-sponsored by the Ramírez, Strauss and Wainwright labs. Her research focuses on trait-mediated interactions between plants, arthropods, and fungi, particularly on how plant traits mediate mutualistic and defensive interactions, such as extrafloral nectaries, mite domatia, and plant chemistry. Her work merges phylogenetic and experimental approaches. Marjorie is an assistant professor the Michigan State University.

Lab in fall 2014