Lab Alumni

Jimena Golcher Benavides, PhD student

Jimena defended her PhD in the Program in Ecology at the University of Wyoming in Summer 2021. She came to the lab with extensive background in tropical biology, particularly fieldwork in her native Costa Rica and in Nicaragua. Jimena managed and led an impressive amount of fieldwork in Lake Taganyika, and also has gained funding for her work from the Society for the Study of Evolution, among other sources. She worked on community diversity and evolution in Tanganyikan cichlids. She is now a visiting assistant professor at Lees-McRae College in North Carolina.


Liz Mandeville, Postdoc

Liz Mandeville joined the lab in summer 2016 to work on a project in collaboration with Annika Walters and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, to look at hybridization between rainbow trout and native Yellowstone cutthroat trout in the North Fork Shoshone, and also collaborated with the lab on cichlid genetic work. She completed her PhD in UW’s Program in Ecology in 2016, working with Alex Buerkle on hybridzation genetics in catostomid fishes. Liz started her position as an Assistant Professor at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada in January 2019. Check out what her lab is up to here!


Karly Higgins, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Karly worked in the lab from Fall 2016-Spring 2017, associated with Liz Mandeville’s project on Yellowstone cutthroat trout x Rainbow trout hybridization. Karly graduated in Spring 2017, and is now a PhD student at the University of California, Merced, in their Quantitative and Systems Biology Program, pursing her dream of researching issues in marine conservation.


Brittany Nordberg, Undergraduate Wyoming Research Scholar

Brittany began working in the lab in Fall 2015 as a Wyoming Research Scholar. She worked on understanding the evolutionary history of Nile Perch species with genetic tools, and she also took on a major role in our Yelllowstone cutthroat trout work by conducting a field season doing spawning surveys, and compiling 100 years of information about stocking in the North Fork Shoshone. Brittany graduated in fall 2017 and is gaining additional field experiences as a fisheries field technician prior to starting grad school.


Chad Brock, Postdoc

Chad joined the lab in February 2017, and worked on using genomic data to infer details of the evolutionary history of African cichlid radiations. His project continues to link Wagner lab work with that of the Seehausen group, and Chad spent time working in Switzerland as part of this collaboration. Chad completed his PhD at the University of Texas, Austin, and prior to that completed a master’s degree at Washington State University. He is now an assistant professor at Tarleton State University in Texas.


Reid Olson, Undergraduate Research Scholar

Reid joined the lab in summer 2018 as an INBRE undergraduate research fellow, and a Wyoming Research Scholar. He is worked together with Chad Brock to analyze whole genome data of East African cichlid fishes, in particular focusing on understanding the history and implications of hybridization on diversification in East African cichild radiations. After graduating in 2020 Reid started a job at WEST.


Kiwi, mascot

Kiwi acted as a supporter of science and exploration of all kinds for her 10 years in PI Katie’s life. From the depths of grad school to launching my career as a PI in Wyoming, Kiwi was there offering her support and enthusiasm for science, sticks, digging, and snow. She touched the lives of many people, and we miss her.