PI: Catherine Linnen


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Catherine earned her B.S. in Ecology from the University of Georgia (2000). She then went on to complete her PhD in Brian Farrell's lab (2007) and spent four years as a postdoc in Hopi Hoekstra's lab (2007-2011), both in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Kentucky.

Field Assistants/Honorary Lab Members

Lab Manager: Adam Leonberger


A native of Indianapolis, Adam has always been fascinated with plants, science, and art. He holds a B.S. in Plant Biology and Horticultural Production/Marketing (2008) and an M.S. in Plant Pathology (2010), both from Purdue University. Adam also worked in Purdue's Plant Diagnostic Clinic for four years and as the director of the Plant Diagnostic Clinic at the University of Missouri. He recently moved to Lexington with his wife, Kim, and joined the Linnen lab in November 2011. Adam spends his free time carving, crocheting, digging in the dirt, taking long aimless walks with his wife and two dogs, and photographing odd and beautiful things around him.

PhD Candidate: Robin Bagley


Robin joined the Linnen lab at its inception after completing her B.S. and M.A. at Kean University. At Kean, she worked on a variety of research projects until stumbling upon her true love, phylogenetic analysis of Neodiprion sawflies, in Dr. Sylvio Codella's lab. Robin plans to continue working on sawfly evolution in the Linnen lab, focusing on modes of speciation. She is supported by the University of Kentucky Multi-Year Fellowship, Daniel R. Reedy Quality Achievement Award, and G. Flora Ribble Research Fellowship.

Current Lab Members

Mark, Jason, and Stephanie Linnen

Past Lab Members

Undergraduate: Taylor Shackleford


Taylor was born in High Point, NC and later moved to Indianapolis, IN. He is a freshman Biology major with a minor in Business and plans to attend medical school at UK. Taylor is a BS/BA/MD student and a Singletary Scholar. He enjoys ketchup and sleeping.

PhD Student: Kim Duong


Kim completed her B.S. in molecular biology at Western Washington University (2010), where she worked on Rhagoletis speciation under Dietmar Schwarz. After graduation, she worked as a lab tech at Penn State in Kelli Hoover's lab, then joined the lab in 2012. Kim plans to identify sawfly host-use genes, and use this information to address longstanding questions in speciation. Besides biology, Kim has work experiences ranging from retail to domestic violence advocacy.  When not occupied with science, she maintains an interest in the outside world and complements her research reading with The Economist and The Atlantic.

Undergraduate: Mary Collins


Mary was born in Pune, India, but Kentucky has become home. She is a senior, majoring in Biology. Mary enjoys traveling, photography, and trying new foods. This is her first experience with research in a lab and she is loving it!

Undergraduate: Melanie Hurst


Melanie is from Bronston, KY. She is a junior working towards a BS in Agricultural Biotechnology and Chemistry. She enjoys traveling, raptors, and the outdoors.

Postdoc: Matthew Niemiller

cavemander17@gmail.com; http://www.herpetology.us/niemiller/

Matthew earned his B.S. in Biology (2003) and M.S. in Biology (2006) from Middle Tennessee State University. His M.S. thesis examined divergence-with-gene flow in cave-dwelling salamanders. Matthew then completed his Ph.D. in Benjamin's Fitzpatrick's lab (2011) studying cavefish evolution. Before joining the Linnen Lab, Matthew was a Gaylord Donnelley Postdoctoral Environmental Fellow at The Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies. He studied the ecology, evolution and conservation of cavefishes in Thomas Near's lab (2011-2013). Matthew is the coauthor of three books, including The Amphibians of Tennessee, Reptiles of Tennessee and Cave Life of TAG: A Guide to Commonly Encountered Species in Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.

Undergraduate: Alonna Ballinger


Alonna is a junior from Jetson, KY. She is pursuing a BS in Agricultural Biotechnology with a minor in Psychology. She enjoys knitting, cooking, and traveling.

Undergraduate: Katherine Harper


Katie is from Lexington, KY. She is a senior working towards a BS in Biology. She enjoys camping, swimming, and being with her family.

Joanna Larson (lab tech 2011; Currently: PhD student, Univ. of Michigan)

Katie DeVeau (lab tech 2011-2012; Currently: PhD student, Univ. of Louisville)

Rachael Ziembroski (lab tech and field assistant, Summer 2012)

Kyle Schwachter (lab tech 2012-2013)

Meghan Pasquale (lab tech 2013)

Aubrey Mojesky (lab tech, Summer 2013; Currently: undergrad, Centre College)

Emily Stromberg (KBRIN student, Summer 2013; Currently: undergrad, Berry College)

PhD Student: John Terbot


John is originally from the Cincinnati area. He completed his B.S. in Evolution/Ecology and Entomology at The Ohio State University (2012). He joined the lab in 2013 and plans to study the evolution and genetics of social behaviors in insects, using Neodiprion as a model. When not doing science, he supports and explores artistic endeavors. He is interested in multi-media, digital, film, and video arts.

Undergraduate: Ahmad Nawaz


Ahmad is from Rawalpindi, Pakistan. He’s a pre-dentistry student with an Antropology major. He is crazy about sports and also very good at playing under-water rock-paper-scissors.