Lab members

Current lab members


Jennifer  J. Wernegreen
CV (click here)

email: j.wernegreen [at]
office ph: 919/681-0331
Research interests: bacterial genome evolution; host-microbe symbioses, with a focus on bacterial mutualists of ants and other insects; processes shaping natural variation; microbial responses to changing environments.



sick_punkinBryan Brown, Graduate Student (Environment Ph.D. program), June 2012-present.

e: bpb9 [at] duke [dot] edu
Research interests: Ecological factors shaping host-associated microbiota; evolutionary consequences of host-microbe symbioses.





Jessie Uehling, Ph.D student (UPGG Ph.D. program), Aug 2012- present, co-advised with Rytas Vilgalys

CV (click here).

e: jku [at] duke [dot] edu

Research interests:  I joined the Program in Genetics and Genomics at Duke in fall of 2012 after receiving a BS in Botany and MSc in Mycology from Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA. My interests in tropical botany and mycology began during an influential summer I spent at a field research station in Panama as an undergraduate. I continued studying mutualistic symbiotic plants and fungi in the neotropics during my MSc, which focused on molecular ecology and systematics of the fungal genus Clavulina in Guyana. During my rotation in the Wernegreen lab I learned computational techniques to evaluate systematic questions using mitochondrial genomes from the ant genus Camponotus. My dissertation research is aimed at understanding the interactions of plant associated fungi with various bacteria including several endosymbionts. I am using a multi -omics approach to understand how bacterial fungal symbioses are established and maintained.


Carlton AdaCarlton_lab_sitems, Undergraduate Researcher, summer 2014 – Present

e: carlton.adams [at] duke [dot] edu

Research interests: Up to this point as an undergraduate, I have gained a genuine interest in the study of prokaryotic microbial communities and the defined interaction that these organisms have developed with associated eukaryotic organisms. More specifically though, within this association, topics such as the development of antibiotic resistance by associated bacterial strains both inside and outside of a eukaryotic host relationships, the ability of eukaryotic organisms to control the growth of bacteria, and the mechanism by which certain bacterial strains are able to employ the use of the essential cellular processes of associated eukaryotic organisms are all topics that fascinate me. In addition to this though, I am also interested in the fairly distinct topic of the involvement that epigenetic biomarkers have in defining a relationship between certain eukaryotes and prokaryotes in light of the measurable ways that epigenetic inheritance can influence phenotypic characteristics.

Lab Alumni


Alumns OF DUKE LAB  (2010- present)


Julie Yi, Undergraduate Researcher, 2012- 2014

Laura E. Williams, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2010-2013
email: laura.wlms [the word at]
Check out Laura’s blog about microbes: ‘Microwaves
Currently: Postdoc, USDA (Athens, GA), studying bacterial genomics and antibiotic resistance.

Yongliang Fan, Research Analyst, 2010-2013
Research interests: insect-microbe symbioses, in particular between the ant genus Camponotus and Blochmannia.   Currently:  [coming soon!]

Tatiana Fofanova, Undergraduate Researcher (NSF REU, and Explorations in the Genome Sciences student), summer 2011.   Currently: studying the human microbiome at the Translation Biology and Molecular Medicine Dept. of Baylor College of Medicine.

Eunice Yim, Undergraduate Researcher,  2011





Research Assistants:

Adam B. Lazarus, 2001-2010. Currently: consultant for  education, government and television, based in LA, and founder of ConsultAnts.  See Adam’s TEDxWoodsHole talk HERE.

Patrick H. Degnan, RA 2001-2004. Currently: Assistant Professor, University of Illinois, School of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Ulandt Kim, RA 2004.  Currently: Research Staff at the Dept. of Molecular Biology, Harvard.

Seth N. Kauppinen, RA 2005-2008.  Currently Ph.D. student, UC Berkeley.

James Style, RA 2008-2010. Currently at the Climate Change Institute, Univ. of Maine.



Carmen Palacios, postdoc 2001-02. Currently at CNRS, France.

Seth R. Bordenstein, postdoc 2002-04. Currently Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University.

Joshua Herbeck, postdoc 2002-03. Currently a Senior Fellow and Acting Instructor at Univ. of Washington.

Adam Fry, postdoc 2004-05. Currently a Lecturer and Coordinator at Univ. of Connecticut.

Erika Del Castillo, postdoc 2009-2010. Currently a PostDoc in the Izard lab at the Forsyth Institute



Chad Brock, NSF REU student,  summer 2002.

Amy McCurley, NSF REU student, summer 2002.

Marsha Wheeler, HHMI student fellowship, summer 2002.

Josh Larson, NSF REU student, summer 2003.

Jeremy Brozek, NSF REU student, summer 2004.

Tim Huber, NSF REU student, summer 2007.

Chris Graves, NSF REU student, summer 2008.