vonHoldt Lab

Evolutionary Genomics and Ecological Epigenomics

Associate Professor, Dr. Bridgett vonHoldt [CV], trying to teach her nieces about wolf watching.



Post-doctoral Researchers


Our most recent post-docs have accepted faculty jobs at great institutions!


Ph.D. Students

Elizabeth Heppenheimer
My research is broadly focused on the role of adaptive introgression and epigenetics in the evolution of complex traits. I am currently exploring the genetic and epigenetic basis of migratory behavior in Rocky Mountain caribou, as well as the genetic consequences of coyote range expansion and hybridization events with wild and domestic canids. For more, please visit my website.


Allie DeCandia
I am fascinated by the diversity of questions that can be addressed with molecular techniques within the fields of conservation biology and evolutionary ecology. Through use of genetic, epigenetic, and microbial sequencing technologies, I am currently applying an integrative molecular approach to the study of wildlife populations facing disease. I additionally study the genetic effects of urban colonization and range expansion, with prior experience in method development for noninvasive genetic monitoring of carnivore species. My focal systems include North American wolves, coyotes, and foxes, but I am broadly interested in the application of these techniques to questions involving diverse taxa around the world. For more, please visit my website.


Christopher Lawrence
My main area of research is in comparative genomics. I have always been interested in the way that genomic variation contributes to phenotypic diversity and the underlying mechanisms responsible. More specifically, I am interested in understanding the role that transposable elements play in generating standing genetic variation that can then be selected within different selection regimes. By incorporating high-throughput sequencing technologies along with machine learning algorithms, we can better understand how genomes evolve. In the vonHoldt lab, I'm exploring the genetic and epigenetic response of deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) to stress induced by hypoxia and am constantly studying dog genomics.


Dhriti Tandon
I am a first year graduate student and am broadly interested in understanding genetic basis of complex and variable phenotypes such as behavior. I am especially intrigued by behaviors of evolutionary significance in animals, including sociability and mating behaviors.



Undergraduate Students (EEB unless otherwise noted)

2020: Laura Makin, Watson Weng, Kennedy Leverett
2019: Maddie Offstein, Riley Wilkinson, Mikaela Walkup
2018: Julian Goldman, Tabitha Lumour-Mensah, Larkin Papa
2017: Cat Caro, Rohan Hylton, Quin Pompi
2016: Daniela Cosio, Carly Jackson, Jordy Lubkeman, Emily Shuldiner, Samantha Wu
2015: Thomas Kroshus (MolBio), Karlos Bledsoe
2014: Gitanjali Gnanadesikan, Eskender McCoy

Lab Alumni

Kristin Brzeski; post-doc (now Faculty at Michigan Tech)
Rebecca (Shirk) Kartzinel; post-doc (now Faculty at Brown University)
Linda Rutledge; post-doc (now an Adjunct Professor at Trent University)
Ilana Janowitz Koch; post-doc (now a Scientist at CRITFC)
Kerry Machemer; post-doc

Fabricio Silva Garcez; visiting Ph.D. student from Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Jenni Harmoinen; visiting Ph.D. student from University of Oulu, Finland
Yashira Afanador-Hernandez; visiting Master's student from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez

Constance Braz; visiting undergraduate from Virginia State University
Deja Rogers; visiting undergraduate from Virginia State University
Keana Johnson; visiting undergraduate from Virginia State University
Gayle Pedersen; visiting Ph.D. student from University of Pretoria, South Africa
Rachelle Mariano; visiting undergraduate from University of Miami

PU Learning Laboratory Program Alumni (high school interns)

Audrey Bochi-Layec
Olivia Ondis
Katie Simons
Amelia Krause
Dominica Colavito