Callie Chappell

PhD student
E-mail: calliech at stanford dot edu
Web site

Callie is interested in using molecular biology and analytical chemistry to explore species traits that contribute to priority effects. To investigate mechanisms that may underlie priority effects, she is planning to focus on Mimulus aurantiacus nectar microbes. Callie completed a concurrent undergraduate/Master's degree from the University of Michigan in 2017. As an undergraduate student, Callie worked with Mark Hunter to study how elevated atmospheric CO2 alters tri-trophic interactions in an Asclepias (milkweed) system via its influence on plant chemical defenses and the population dynamics of a specialist aphid. As a Master's student in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, Callie was advised by David Sherman, and studied the biosynthesis of cyanobacterial secondary metabolites using heterologous expression, in vitro enzymatic assays, and analytical chemistry. Callie joined the lab in fall 2017 as a Stanford Graduate Fellow and an NSF Graduate Research Fellow.

Leslie Decker

Postdoctoral fellow
E-mail: leslieedecker at gmail dot com
Web site

Leslie is interested in the influence of plant chemistry on multitrophic interactions under future environmental conditions. Leslie joined the lab in summer 2018 and hopes to study the effects of environmental change on nectar microbial communities and consequent pollinator visitation. Leslie finished her PhD at the University of Michigan with Mark Hunter, where she studied the chemical ecology of the monarch butterfly in the context of environmental change. Her work investigating the influence of elevated CO2 on monarch tolerance and parasite virulence was published in Ecology Letters, summarized in this 3-min video and press release.

Niv DeMalach

Postdoctoral fellow
E-mail: nivdemalach at gmail dot com
Web site

Niv is interested in the drivers of plant community assembly (including trait distribution, species diversity and functional diversity) and their implications for conservation. Niv joined the lab in fall 2018 and is studying competition between annual and perennial plants. Niv finished his PhD at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (supervised by Ronen Kadmon and Eli Zaady), where he studied size-asymmetric competition and its consequences for biodiversity along resource gradients using models, field experiments, and global-scale analyses. Niv is a Rothschild postdoctoral fellow.

Nick Hendershot

PhD student
E-mail: jhende at stanford dot edu
Web site

Nick is interested in how ecological communities respond to land use change. During his undergraduate studies, Nick used congeneric wood-wren species to look at how interspecific interactions contribute to diversity along elevational gradients in tropical montane forest ecosystems. In 2014, he completed his BSc at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, under Aimee Classen, where his thesis focused on global drivers of belowground microbial diversity and abundance, published in Ecology. Nick joined the lab in fall 2015, and in his PhD research, he asks how deforestation and agricultural intensification impact resource use and predator-prey interactions in bird communities in Costa Rica. Nick is a Stanford Graduate Fellow.

Po-Ju Ke

PhD student
E-mail: pojuke at stanford dot edu
Google Scholar

Po-Ju is interested in understanding how plant-soil interactions influence plant and microbial community dynamics. He finished his Master's degree at National Taiwan University in 2013 with a focus on theoretical ecology. Supervised by Takeshi Miki and Tzung-Su Ding, his thesis took a trait-based approach to predicting plant-soil feedback strength, later published in New Phytologist. Po-Ju joined the lab in fall 2014, and for his PhD study, he uses 20 years of high-resolution aerial photos taken at Bodega Bay to study the temporal development of plant-soil feedback in dunes. By combining the aerial photo analysis with field work, high-throughput sequencing, greenhouse experiments, and mathematical modelling, he seeks to link microbial succession patterns to vegetation turnover. He is also working on incoporating mechanistic plant-soil feedback models into general coexistence theories to understand plant species coexistence. Po-Ju is a Volttera Award winner. He is partly funded by the Studying Abroad Scholarship from the Ministry of Education in Taiwan.

Jesse Miller

Email: jedmill at stanford dot edu
Web site

Jesse is broadly interested in drivers of lichen and plant community composition, particularly in the context of global change. Recently, a focus of his research has been the effects of shifting wildfire regimes on lichen and plant communities. Jesse uses functional traits and remotely sensed data in combination with field studies to gain insight into mechanisms underpinning ecological processes. He worked as a postdoc at UC Davis after earning his PhD in 2016 with Ellen Damschen at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He came to Stanford in fall 2018 as a Lecturer. He enjoys involving students in research, and is excited about exploring lichen functional traits and microbes in his teaching and research.

Megan Morris

Postdoctoral fellow
E-mail: mmorris4 at stanford dot edu
Google Scholar

Megan is interested in the capability of microbes, including bacteria and yeasts, to modify environments, and aims to link the genomic potential of microbes with empirical observations to predict the influence of microbial activity on other trophic levels within an ecosystem. Megan joined the lab in fall 2018 and hopes to study the genomic and functional potential of nectar-associated microbes and the effects of their metabolic activity on plant-pollinator interactions. Megan received her PhD in Ecology through a Joint Doctoral Program with San Diego State University and the University of California, Davis. At SDSU, Megan studied with Elizabeth Dinsdale on the microbial ecology of temperate kelp forests, using metagenomics to describe microbial community composition, function, and fluctuations. At UC Davis, Megan worked with Rachel Vannette to study the influence of floral visitation types on microbial community structure and function. Megan is an ARCS Scholar alum.

Priscilla San Juan

PhD student
E-mail: psanjuan at stanford dot edu
Web site

Priscilla is broadly interested in understanding how animals are impacted by anthropogenic changes in the environment. She is particularly fascinated by the connection between animal microbiome and conservation. She completed her BA in Environmental Science at the University of California, Irvine. As an undergraduate, she researched antibiotic resistance in environmental bacteria, perchlorate toxicology in C. elegans, and the ecological roles of two invasive fish species in Mexico. She worked with Donovan German using digestive enzyme profiles to investigate how the fishes' roles change through a gradient of environments, ranging from pristine to urban conditions. Priscilla joined the lab in summer 2016, and is examining the effects of human land use on avian microbial communities and diversity. She is a Ford Foundation Fellow.

Magdalena Warren

PhD student
E-mail: mlwarren at stanford dot edu

Maggie is interested in microbial community ecology, and the effects that these communities have on their hosts, such as through production of secondary metabolites. She is fascinated by the impacts these organisms have on their chemical environments, and the influences of gradients, such as temperature and pH, on microbial communities. Maggie completed her BS in Cellular and Molecular Biology at California State University, Dominguez Hills, where she worked with Kathryn Theiss and Karin Kram, studying the nectar microbiome of Asclepias curassavica, a non-native tropical milkweed, across the urban heat island gradient of Los Angeles, to explore the connections between temperature, location, and the intricate microbe-plant-pollinator relationships. She also studied the induction of secondary metabolites by Salinispora tropica, a marine obligate actinomycete, through competition with environmental bacteria under Paul Jensen at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Maggie joined the lab in summer 2018 as an ADVANCE fellow and an NSF Graduate Research Fellow.

Akira and Yutaka Fukami

Honorary members
No email yet

Akira joined the lab as an honorary member when he was born in January 2012. Akira recruited his brother, Yutaka, into the lab when he was born in December 2014.

In addition, we often have undergraduate students in our lab, working on their thesis projects or assisting others to gain research experience. Many are funded by Stanford VPUE and NSF REU.

Our lab also hosts visiting students and scholars from other institutions. See below for former members.

August 2017 - Current and former lab members who attended ESA. Back row from left to right: Jes Coyle, Po-Ju Ke, Rachel Vannette, Devin Leopold and family, Holly Moeller, Ian Dickie (collaborator), Kai Zhu, Marion Donald, Noam Rosenthal, Andrew Letten. Front row from left to right: Tess Grainger, Tad Fukami, Priscilla San Juan, Nick Hendershot.

Former members

PhD students

Matthew Knope, 2006-2012, Assistant Professor, University of Hawaii, Hilo
Melinda Belisle, 2008-2013, Science Advisor, USDA FAS
Holly Moeller, 2010-2015, Assistant Professor, UC Santa Barbara
Devin Leopold, 2012-2017, Postdoctoral fellow, Oregon State University

Visiting PhD students

Caroline Tucker, 2012, Assistant Professor, UNC-Chapel Hill
Tess Grainger, 2017, Postdoctoral fellow, Princeton University
Marion Donald, 2017 & 2018, PhD student, Rice University

Postdoctoral fellows

Kabir Peay, 2010-2011, Assistant Professor, Stanford University
Ben Callahan, 2010-2014, Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University
Rachel Vannette, 2011-2015, Assistant Professor, UC Davis
Peter Zee, 2013-2015, Assistant Professor, University of Mississippi
Meike Wittmann, 2014-2015, Junior professor, Bielefeld University
Kai Zhu, 2014-2015, Assistant Professor, UC Santa Cruz
Manpreet Dhami, 2014-2017, Researcher, Landcare Research, New Zealand
Andrew Letten, 2015-2017, Marie Curie fellow, ETH Zurich

Master's student

Noam Rosenthal, 2017-2018, PhD student, UCLA

Visiting scholars

Hirokazu Toju, 2015-2016, Associate Professor, Kyoto University
Kaoru Tsuji, 2015 & 2017, Postdoctoral fellow, Kyoto University


Marie-Pierre Gauthier, 2011-2014, Biological Scientist, University of Florida


Jessica Coyle, 2016-2018, Assistant Professor, St. Mary's College of California

Research affiliate

Mifuyu Nakajima

Undergraduate students

Safiyyah Abdul-Khabir, Breanna Allen, Nancy Chang, Simone Barley-Greenfield, Nancy Chang, Sophia Christel, Katie Eritano, Jasmine Gilliam, Mitch Ginsburg, Ashley Good, Jasmine Gilliam, Grace Goldberg, Whitney Hoehn, Diana Huynh, Nathan Kim, Ben LeRoy, Hannah Lynch, Katrina Luna, Sharia Mayfield, Colin Olito, Kelsie Pombo, Rachel Powell, Veronica Hsu, Kim Thai, Julia Tsai, Anna Wietelmann, Aaron Wacholder, Jeremy Watson, Isaac Westlund

Field Studies Program undergraduate students

Daniel Halford, Tess Morgridge, Liz Parissenti, Jenny Rempel, Jake Riley, Nessarose Schear, David Zimmerman, Amy Zuckerwise

High-school student interns

Julia Borden, Christine Kyauk, Arjun Pillai, Roman Rosado, Jose Rosales