Kathleen Donohue

Office:  Biological Sciences 226
Duke faculty bio





Mariano Alvarez
Postdoctoral Research Associate
webpage: here

I’m interested in understanding the genetic basis of phenotypic plasticity and adaptation, and I’m exploring these processes by integrating genomics, transcriptomics, and epigenomics to identify the loci and networks that underlie environmentally-labile phenotypes..



Michelle D’Aguillo
Ph.D. Candidate, Biology


I’m interested in ontogenetic niche shifts: how do the environments experienced by an organism, and forces of selection, vary across the lifecycle? For my dissertation I plan to investigate how natural selection during early life history stages in particular (e.g., seeds, seedlings) alters ecological and evolutionary processes, including the ability to colonize new habitats, and the limits of ecological and geographic ranges. I plan to study this topic across multiple scales—from a small scale, comparing the ecological niche of populations within a single species, to a very broad scale, through a comparative phylogenetic approach using multiple clades of seed plants. In my former marine biologist life, I studied an ontogenetic diet shift in an estuarine fish. I’m also very interested in natural history of the southeast.


Britany Morgan
Ph.D. Candidate
, Ecology


I am an evolutionary ecology who thinks about connections between living things through transgenerational plasticity and community biotic interactions. I focus my research on parental effects, regulation of this form of transgenerational plasticity through epigenetic mechanisms, and the effect of neighboring community on individuals. I enjoy the combination of field and laboratory experiments to balance controlled manipulations with natural observations. I routinely think about the effect of the environment on things like phenotype and fitness, the influence of parents on offspring, and the effect of community interactions on traits of individuals. I also just really love plants and birds.

Brandie Quarles
Ph.D. Candidate, Ecology

I am broadly interested in how stressful and/or variable environments influence plant physiology, phenology, survival, and reproduction. As habitat fragmentation and changing climatic conditions pose mounting threats to plant populations, it is important to learn more about the traits that may ensure survival of individual plants and the population-level effects of those traits. For my dissertation, I plan to investigate how spatial and temporal dispersal influence plant population demography and adaptation. I will use a combination of large-scale field experiments, greenhouse common gardens, phytotron experiments, genetics, and mathematical modeling. Prior to coming to Duke, I did some work with self-incompatibility, polyploidy, plant aging, and demography.


Andrew Bleich
Lab Manager

I started working with Kathleen as her Lab Manager in 2016. I received a B.S. in Plant Biology with a specialization in Molecular and Biochemical Physiology from SIUC. I love plants and am interested in how organisms interact with and are affected by changing environments. I am currently working on projects investigating the basis of phenotypic plasticity to further my understanding






Current Undergraduate Team:

Matthew Gallardo


Shane Wilson

Image preview


Sydney Hunt


Sibani Ram



Jonathan Eini

Lab alumni

Postdoctoral Associates
Gabriela Auge: Senior Researcher, Leloir Institute, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Catherine Martel: Postoctoral Research Associate London, Ontario, Canada
Rafael Rubio de Casas: Postdoctoral Research Associate Grenada, Spain
Deepak Barua: Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Science and Education Research
Converse Griffith: US Forest Service
Jocelyn Hall : Associate Professor, University of Alberta
Shane Heschel: Associate Professor, Colorado College
Chandra Polisetty: USDA
Graduate Students
Lindsay Leverett: Academic Editor, Research Square
Liana T. Burghardt: Educational Specialist, University of Minnesota
Charlie WillisPost-Doctoral Research Associate, Harvard University
Lauren RuaneAssistant Professor Christopher Newport University
George Chiang: Post-Doctoral Research Associate UCLA
Lab Managers
Katie KovachInstructor/Counselor, Schoolhouse of Wonder, Durham, NC
Bri Edwards: Lab manager, NC State University, Raleigh, NC
Logan K. Blair: Graduate Student, University of California at Davis
Elizabeth Boyd: Graduate Student, University of Illinois, Chicago Circle
Colleen Butler: Graduate Student, Tufts University
Emily Dittmar: Graduate Student, Michigan State University
Tracy Tisdale: Technician, Broad Institute
Andrew Wheeler: Graduate student, Claremont Graduate University, Rancho Santa Ana
Visiting Researchers
Xuejing Wang: Visiting Scholar, email:
Zhiqiong Zhou: Visiting Scholar
Toshiyuki Imaizumi: Visiting Scholar, email:
Xiaowen Hu: Postdoctoral Research Associate
Paulo Souza-Filho: Graduate student/Fulbright Scholar
Chunhui Zhang: Postdoctoral Research Associate
Rafiq Majolagbe
Nicholas Cheung
Emily Thayer
Jim Liu
Michael Wen
Cindy Li
Lucy Houttujin Blomendaal
Aleena Karediya
Katherine Vayda
George Schieder IV
Eden Ashebir
Dan Moore
Emily Woska
Mae Lewis
Stella Arndorfer
Jennifer Zou
Hannah Neville
Gopi Neppala
Becky Li
Charlotte Harrington
Shengnan Xu
Tommy Meister
Michael Murphy
Corley Gibbs
Paul Griggs
Naomi Wender
Shaun Takao
Jessica Selby
Dunbar Carpenter
Tim Wang
Joe Provenzano
Mercedes Zapata-Garcia
Anamika Saha
Nick Jerles
Eli Hornstein

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