Ozan completed his MS in molecular biology and genetics from Izmir Institute for Technology in 2010, and his PhD in Evolutionary Biology in 2015 from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology under the supervision of Duncan Greig. Here, he firstly investigated the role of oxygen concentration in the evolution of multicellular size. Next, being very much inspired by Richard Lenski’s LTEE, he has started a long-term experimental evolution study by selecting snowflake yeast for larger size under a diverse set of metabolic conditions (i.e. currently at 700+ days of transfers). In 5 (out of 15) populations of this LTEE experiment, macroscopic multicellular size (~1mm in diameter) has evolved (from an ancestor of 30 micron). He is currently examining these populations from an evolutionary genomics perspective. By analyzing sequenced genomes of individuals from this experiment, he is studying the genetics behind the macroscopic snowflake yeast phenotype, and investigating how differences in population size between small and large multicellular clusters of pops. change the number and spectrum of mutations. Besides applying selection on snowflake yeast on a daily basis, he likes running, playing chess, visiting art museums, and enjoys American craft beer culture. P.S. The sentence in the background of this profile pic. explains his philosophy in the lab. nicely.
Anthony Burnetti (Tony)
Peter Conlin completed his PhD in biology at the University of Washington in 2018 under the supervision of Benjamin Kerr. He is studying how genetic interactions such as sign epistasis change over evolutionary time and extent to which the evolution of multicellularity is reversible.
Pedro is from the village of Paracho, México. He graduated from the National Autonomous University of México, where he studied Biomedical Sciences and did his research thesis with Valeria Souza. He is mainly interested in 1) How organismal morphology emerges in early multicellularity, and 2) The spatial structure of microbial communities. He is also deeply curious about the epistemology of theoretical biology. In his spare time, he teaches biology to inspiring undocumented students. Incredibly, he plays guitar and chess. Credibly, he likes real tacos and cheap beer.
Alireza Zamani (Ali)
Ali did his master’s in Physics with Paul Higgs at McMaster University on the bacterial genome evolution and developing models for estimating horizontal gene transfer. Currently, he is interested in the role of physical interactions in the emergence of multicellular life forms as well as major transitions in heritability.
Kai earned his undergraduate degree in biological sciences from Fudan University, China, and joined the lab as a Ph.D. student in Quantitative Biosciences in 2017. Due to COVID-19, Kai has been unable to return to the US and is currently working with Prof. Juha Saarikangas, a collaborator at the University of Helsinki, Finland, where he is studying the evolution of cell differentiation in macroscopic snowflake yeast, using single-cell sequencing and quantitative fluorescent microscopy. He is also using a modeling approach to understand the origin of cell differentiation and multicellular development. In his spare time, Kai likes to play tennis and badminton, enjoying superhero movies, and diving into books on topics ranging from history, philosophy, to architecture and science fiction.
Kathryn Wendorf (Katie)
Katie Wendorf MacGillivray received a Master’s in Biology from New York University where she worked on phenotypic heterogeneity of antibiotic susceptibility in the lab of Edo Kussell. She is now a Ph.D. student in the Quantitative Biosciences program at Georgia Tech. In the Ratcliff lab, she is interested in engineering yeast that can switch between life cycles – unicellular, clonal, and aggregative. Outside of the lab, she likes to knit, garden, and take road trips with her husband Ian.
Rozenn is from a tiny two-house village in the heart of Britanny, France. There she fed a love for nature and the desire to help our understanding, to add a little dust in the brick which is building our wall of knowledge. She started her Ph.D. in Quantitative Biosciences in 2018 and fuels her passion for plants with evolutionary questions. She notably explores the evolutionary history of the Pando clone, a giant clonal forest in Utah. She fills her free time with melodies, climbing routes, and delectable readings.
Undergraduate/High School Researchers
Daniella is a third-year Biology student at Georgia Tech following the Pre-Health and Business Certificate pathways. She is currently examining the relationship between age and cellular differentiation in yeast. In this project, she has co-developed a machine learning pipeline to automatically age cells based on fluorescence. Her previous work focused on how cellular ploidy affects the evolution of novel multicellular traits. Outside of researching, she volunteers with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and enjoys spending her free time petting dogs and drawing.
Outside of school, she is an environmental advocate with the Green Schools campaign, a 3rd-degree black belt in taekwondo, and loves to play volleyball and kickbox.
I am currently a first-year biology student working with Rozenn to investigate competition between multicellular yeast of different sizes. In my free time, I love reading, creative writing, and eating dessert!
- Penny Kahn, technician (currently a Ph.D. student, Leander Lab at University of British Columbia)
- Jennifer Pentz, Ph.D. student (currently a postdoctoral researcher at Umeå universitet)
- Margareth Murphy, undergraduate researcher (currently Ph.D. student, Lindo Lab, Emory University)
- Jordan Gulli, Ph.D. student (currently at New England Biolabs)
- Jillian Walker, Master student
- Leslie Townswell, Master thesis (currently Masters Research Assistant, Yager Lab, University of Georgia)
- Parimala Devi, Master student (currently a Bioinformatician at the Netherlands Cancer Institute)
- Troy von Beck, technician (currently Ph.D. student at Emory University)
- Joshua Borin, post-bac researcher (currently Ph.D. student, Meyer Lab at University of California San Diego)