Biology, Stanford University

Banner image of elephants

Dr. Elizabeth Hadly

Department of Biology, Stanford University
Stanford, CA 94305-5020

650.725.2655 (phone), 650.723.6123 (fax)

Leopold Leadership Fellow

Graduate students

I'm a fifth year doctoral student, working with Dr. Elizabeth Hadly and Dr. Gretchen Daily. I'm taking an evolutionary perpective to understand how and why some species are able to survive human modification of the environment, while others can only survive in unaltered habitats. I'm using two closely related species of Costa Rican terrestrial direct developing frogs as a model, and assessing how genotypic and phenotypic differences between the species correlate with habitat use in the field. Full project description.

Luke Frishkoff


I am a fifth year doctoral student interested in patterns of diversification and extinction in insular communities. My research focuses on the herpetofauna of the Caribbean, with an emphasis on Lesser Antillean lizard communities. More specifically, I am integrating paleontology with molecular biology in order to understand how diversity has changed over geologic time scales. The natural and cultural history of the Lesser Antilles render it an exemplary model system to study how diversification and extinction processes are influenced by ecological and geological perturbations alike. With this in mind, I hope that my work will inform conservation efforts in this biologically rich region.

Melissa Kemp

I'm a fourth year PhD student with broad interests ranging from population diversification and adaptation to ecoimmunology and conservation. I am currently working on a project examining how various aspects of a bat's ecology affect its exposure to parasitism and disease and how this in turn shapes its immunogenetic evolution, looking within populations and across species. By combining field work and genetic techniques, I hope to learn more about the evolution of these ecologically important species which also serve as important vectors and reservoirs of emerging diseases. Before graduate school my research included projects researching macroevolutionary patterns of convergence and phylogenetic signal in the toepads of Anolis lizards and the effect of resource availability and other environmental factors on white blood cells and immune function in tuatara, a threatened, endemic, New Zealand reptile.

Hannah Frank
Curriculum Vitae

I am a fourth year Ph.D. student interested in evolutionary genetics. Although my interests are broad, I am studying the impact of changing environmental and geologic forces on the population genetics of the tuco-tuco, a rodent genus endemic to South America. Before joining the lab at Stanford, I conducted my undergraduate thesis research at Harvard, where I researched the genetic basis of migration in monarch butterflies, focusing on elucidating the population structure of the two monarch subspecies and determining potential genes contributing to the disparate migratory behaviors of the two subspecies.

Jeremy Hsu

I am a fourth year PhD candidate studying pikas (small mammals related to rabbits - the inspiration for Pikachu) in the Indian Himalayas. My work is aimed at identifying the genetic adaptations that underlie Himalayan pikas’ ability to survive in severely hypoxic conditions. Himalayan pikas are being forced to higher elevations due to climate change but some of these species may not have the genetic adaptions necessary to survive the hypoxia of their new higher elevation habitat. In an effort to get a full image of the suite of adaptations that enable the hypoxia tolerance seen in some pika species, I am assessing adaptations in mitochondrial and nuclear candidate genes, considering the role of plasticity in gene expression using transcriptomics, as well as identifying new candidate genes through next-generation techniques. By looking at how adaptations are distributed across the pika phylogeny I hope to gain new insight into the mechanisms driving evolution at high altitudes.


Katie Solari

I am a third year PhD student interested in the origin and conservation of mammalian diversity, with an emphasis on the evolutionary trends of insular and venomous mammals. My research uses Eulipotyphlan mammals ("true" insectivores including hedgehogs, shrews, solenodons, and moles) to understand broader processes of molecular evolution, clade diversification, and evolutionary responses to past and present environmental change (climatic and anthropogenic). I am focusing on solenodons, the only surviving endemic insectivores of the Caribbean, to combine my interests in conservation and evolution, as they are venomous, evolutionarily distinctive, and highly endangered due to deforestation and predation by invasive species. My undergraduate research at Cornell applied phylogeography and population genetics to determine that insular muskrats in the Gulf of ME were introduced by humans.

Alexis Mychajliw
Curriculum Vitae

Visiting Scholars

I am a first year PhD student headed for the Hopkins Marine Station. I aim to apply scientific principles of how animals and humans utilize marine ecosystems to management strategies, informing effective, collaborative policy that protects the oceans and those that depend on them in the face of a changing climate.

Julia Mason

I am a postdoc (and former doctoral student) in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program at Stanford University working with Gretchen C. Daily and Paul R. Ehrlich in the Center for Conservation Biology. My research primarily focuses on quantifying the populations, community assemblages, and species interactions of organisms in human-dominated landscapes under the framework of countryside biogeography. Much of my work centers on predictive models, habitat use, and metapopulation and metacommunity dynamics of birds and bats in Coto Brus, Costa Rica. This work is largely informed by the need to crystallize a firm link between diversity of life on the planet, conservation biology, ecosystem services, and natural capital. Specifically, I am interested in fine-scale tradeoffs between the conservation of biodiversity and agricultural production in the tropics.

Additionally, with different disciplinary goals and methods, I am interested in reframing the red in tooth and claw narrative of the natural world by examining cooperation between animal communities, social groups, and genders. In collaboration with Joan E. Roughgarden I am investigating the evolution and ecology of social reproductive behavior under the framework of social selection, an alternative to sexual selection theory and its corollaries. I am interested in relating the evolutionary behavioral ecologies of mutualism, behavior in the face of resource limitations, and social reproductive behavior with the human predicaments of consumption, population policy, and gender inequality.

Chase Mendenhall
Feature Story

I have been with the Department of Genetics at the Stanford University School of Medicine since 1992 in the laboratory of Dr. Luca L. Cavalli-Sforza. My research involves the molecular analysis of human DNA sequence variation in human populations. I have been doing pioneering research on human Y chromosome diversification since 1992 that has led to the development of a robust gene tree that elegantly defines numerous Y chromosome varieties with distinctive geographic localization.

The main focus of my research involves deciphering population affinity, substructure and history in contemporary populations using Y chromosome compound SNP and STR lineages. I have coauthored numerous peer-reviewed publications on the subject. I received my B.S. in oceanography from California State University Humboldt, Arcata and my Ph.D. in marine studies from the University of Delaware, Newark.

Peter Underhill

Administrative Associate

I’m new to the Stanford community and to the Bay Area but am loving every minute of it. My background is in finance and research administration for both universities and non-profits. I work part-time for Dr. Hadly but please contact me with any lab matters.

Department of Biology
Gilbert Building, Rm. 228
371 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-5020

650.498.1176 (Phone)

Jill Giordano

Undergraduate Researchers

I am a senior majoring in Biology with a minor in Computer Science. I am working with Alexis to investigate insular extinction patterns by analyzing Nesophontes morphology. In order to promote the solenodon's conservation, I am working on a children's book and a piece for radio.

Laura Cussen
Laura Cussen

I am a senior, majoring in Electrical Engineering potentially with a minor in Biology. In the future, I hope to apply engineering techniques to researching animals, as well as to draw inspiration from the natural world for engineering applications.

Mindy Perkins

I am a sophomore interested in studying both biology and music. I enjoy finding answers to why things are the way they are and will be working with Jeremy to investigate the genetic evolution of rodent species in South America.

Sharon Kam

I am a sophomore studying Earth Systems and working with Alexis on the sociality and behavior of the Hispaniolan solenodon. I am interested in conservation biology and hope to explore implications of climate change on human and animal populations in the future.

Lauren Gibson

I am a senior majoring in Human Biology with a concentration in evolutionary biology and biological anthropology. I am researching the initial human migrations through Peru using archaeological and genetic data for my thesis. My interests include paleoanthropology and the study of the fossil record to learn about human development and evolution.

Delaney Sztraicher

I am a senior majoring in Biology (concentration in Ecology & Evolution) with a minor in Mathematics. For my thesis, I am working with Luke and researching the extent amphibians and reptiles of differing ecological niches experience environmental barriers to gene flow.

Analisa Shields-Estrada

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Hadly Lab, Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-5020
ph. 650.725.2655 | fax. 650.723.6132 | e-mail: hadly@stanford.edu | contact the webmaster