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J. Peter Gogarten, PhD


Research Interests:
Early evolution of life, evolution of gene families, horizontal gene transfer,
inteins, gene duplications

Email: gogarten (at)

Related Pages: cv as pdf, publications, Google Scholar

J. Peter Gogarten is a Board of Trustees distinguished professor of molecular and cell biology and Co-director of the Bioinformatics Facility at the University of Connecticut Biotechnology Services Center. His research on the early evolution of life and on horizontal gene transfer is funded through the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Exobiology and the US National Science Foundation's Assembling the Tree of Life program. He is best known for rooting the tree of life and for his early recognition of horizontal gene transfer as an important force in microbial evolution. Currently, the main focus of his research is comparative genomics and horizontal gene transfer. He is also interested in the early evolution of life and the evolution of molecular parasites.


Artemis "Dyanna" Louyakis, PhD (postdoctoral fellow)


Research Interests: Rare genes in Haloarchaea

Email: Artemis.Louyakis (at)

Google Scholar

Research Gate



Sean Gosselin (graduate student)

Sean' picture

Research Interests: Genome evolution in prokaryotes, phylogenies from genome wide measures

Email: Sean.Gosselin (at)



Matthew Fullmer (graduate student)

Matt's Photo

Research Interests: Pan-genomes, speciation

Email: Matthew.Fullmer (at)

Google Scholar


Ryan Englander (undergraduate student)

Ryan's photo

Research Interests: Pan-genome of bacteria,

Email: ryan.englander (at)







Shannon Soucy, PhD (graduate student)


Research Interests: Evolution and life-cycle of homing endonucleases


Google Scholar


Joshua Skydel (undergraduate student)

Josh's photo

Research Interests: Selfish Genes, cooperation between host, parasites, proteins, and protein domains

Email: joshua.skydel (at)



Tim Harlow (graduate student)


Research Interests:
Evolution of sequence space

Email: timothy.harlow (at)

Publications on Pubmed



Amanda Dick, PhD (graduate student)

Amanda Dick

Research Interests: Eukaryogenesis

Email: amanda.dick (at)



Seila Omer, PhD (graduate student)

Seila's Photo

Research Interests: Gene Transfer Agents, evolution of isofunctional genes

Email: seila.omer (at)


Erica Lasek-Nesselquist, PhD(Postdoc)

Erica's picture

Research Interests:
Ribosomal Tree of Life, Gene Transfer inferred from analyses of isofunctional genes

Email: elasekness (at)

Google Scholar


Kristen Swithers (graduate student)


Research Interests:
Measuring gene flow in microbial communities using group I introns

Email: Kristen.Swithers (at)

Google Scholar


Anna Green (undergraduate student)


Research Interests: Sequence adaptation to temperature

Email: (at)

Publications, Google Scholar


Jeffery M O'Brien (undergraduate student)

Jeff's photo

Research Interests: Early evolution of Archaea and artifacts of phylogneetic reconstruction

Email: obrien.jeffreym (at)

Link to Honors Thesis


Matt Magda (undergraduate student)

Matt's picture

Research Interests: Repeated sequence motifs in bacterial genomes

Email: matthew.j.magda -at-


David Williams, PhD(Postdoc)

David Williams

Research Interests:
Exploring the tree of life with Thermotogales and Halobacteriales

Email: david.williams(at)



Cheryl Andam, Ph.D. (graduate student)


Research Interests: Gene transfer, amino acyl tRNA synthtases, homeoaleles

Email: cheryl.andam (at)

Google Scholar

Current: Faculty at the University of New Hampshire



Greg Fournier, Ph.D.(Graduate Student and Postdoc)


Research Interests:
Early evolution of life; evolution in/of sequence space; evolution of the genetic code

Email: gregory.fournier (at)

Greg's CV

Current: Faculty at MIT




Maria Poptsova, Ph.D. (Postdoc)

Maria Poptsova

Research Interests:
Exploration of Novel Methods to Visualize Genome Evolution
automated assembly of gene families

Email: maria.poptsova (at)

Maria's publications at Research Gate



Kenneth Knowles (undergraduate student)


Research Interests:
Evolution of aminoacyl tRNA synthetases

Email: kenneth.knowles (at)



Kevin Franzman (undergraduate student)


Research Interests:
Molecular evolution and HGT of aminoacyl tRNA synthetases

Email: kevin.franzman (at)


Dan Hagen (undergraduate student)

Email: dan.hagen (at)


Oriana Perez (Undergraduate Student and Research Specialist)

Research Interests:
    Development of a genetic system for Thermotoga

Email: oriana.perez (at)


Kathleen Price (graduate student)

Research Interests:
    Characterization of the hyperconserved protein in Prochlorococcus

Email: kathleen.price (at)

Jonathan Dipippo (graduate student and joint member of Noll lab and Gogarten lab)

Research Interests:
Physiology and evolution of Thermotogales, Ecology and evolution of microbial communities

Email: jonathan.dipippo (at)

Pascal Lapierre, Ph.D. (graduate student)

Current: Bioinformatics Scientist at UConn

Research Interests:
   Evolution of vacuolar and bacterial ATPases. Molecular Clock Theory applied to whole genomes.
Computational analysis of newly sequenced Frakia sp. genomes

Email: pascal.lapierre (at)

Link to Pascal's Google Scholar Page

Current: Wadsworth Center, Dept of Health, NY

Alireza Ghodsi Senejani, Ph.D. (graduate student)

Current: Postdoctoral fellow at Yale

Research Interests:
   Intein structure, function and evolution

Current: Faculty at the University of New Haven

Kai Shi (graduate student)

Research Interests:
    evolution and recombination of ribosomal RNA in bacteria


Olga Zhaxybayeva, Ph.D. (graduate student and former Planetary Biology Intern)

Currently Assistant Professsor at West Viginia University

Research Interests:
   Comparative genomics, ancient gene duplications, ORFan genes, gene and genome mosaicism

Email: olgazh (at)

Olga's Homepage at Dartmouth College; homepage at UConn

Related Pages: Electronic posters

Holly Gardner (graduate student)

Research Interests:
    Role of horizontal gene transfer in bacterial community structure, specifically Thermotogales

Email: holly.gardner (at)

Jinling Huang, Ph.D.(Postdoc)

Jinling is recipient of a National Research Council/NAI Associateship Award, and a member of the
NASA Astrobiology Institute at the MBL in Woods Hole.

Research Interests:
   Early evolution of eukaryotes, horizontal gene transfer, use of transfered genes as taxonomic character. l

Email: Jinling (at)

Current: Faculty at East Carolina University

Catherine E. Igartua (Katie) (undergraduate student)

Research Interests:
    protein space and evolution

Current: Grad School University of Chicago

Email: kigartua (at)

Rima Desai (graduate student)

Research Interests:
    gene transfer of inulinase genes in Bacilli

Email: rima (at)

Lina Pezzella (undergraduate student)

Research Interests:
    simulation of genome evolution

Email: lina.pezzella (at)

Current: Harvard Medical School

Hasan Khalil (undergraduate student)

Research Interests:
    simulation of genome evolution


Current: Programmer at FactSet

Lorraine Olendzenski, Ph.D.

Research Interests:
   Early Evolution of Eukaryotes; Horizontal Gene Transfer

Email: lolendzenski (at)

Related Pages: Lorraines homepage

Current: Associate Professor at St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY
PostDoc: Education and Public Outreach Coordinator, NASA Astrobiology Institute at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA

Greg Roussos (graduate student)

Research Interests:
   Intein structure, function and evolution

Email: gregory.roussos (at)

Andreas Bernauer (exchange student)

Research Interests: Compositional bias and substitution matrices

Email: Bernauer (at)

Currrent: Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter Universität Tübingen

Sushma Samala M.Sc. (graduate student)

Research Interests:
    evolution of ribosomal RNA in bacteria

Email: sushma.samala (at)

Daniel Schock-Kusch (undergraduate exchange student from FH Mannheim)

(PhD Universität Heidelberg, InnovationLab GmbH)

Email: daniel.schock-kusch (at)

Reshma Shial, M.Sc. (graduate student and former undergraduate student)

Research Interests:
   Archaeal type ATPases in Deinococcaceae, culturing Thermus species

Email: rshial (at)

Currrent: UConn Medical School

Jeremy Draghi, Ph.D. (undergraduate student, PhD from Yale)

Research Interests:
   Application of resistor and diode networks to study genome evolution, evolution of evolvability

Email: jeremydraghi (at)

Current: Postdoc with Joshua Plotkin at UPenn

Luis Delaye, Ph.D. (NASA Planetary Biology Intern)

Research Interests:
 Origin of the genetic code, ancient gene duplications, evolution of aminoacyl tRNA synthetases

Email: infinito (at) SERVIDOR.UNAM.MX

Related Pages: pictures, homepage

Current: Profssor of Genetics, Cinvestav Unidad Irapuato, Mexico

Prof. Dr. Günter Claus

Research Interests:
  Endo inulinases in strange bacilli

Email: guenterclaus (at)

Related Pages: Pictures

Current: Professor at the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences, Germany

Scot Magnotta, Ph.D.

Research Interests:
   V-ATPase subunit encoding gene families in Arabidopsis

Email: smagnotta (at)

Related Pages: pictures, graduation party

Current position: Associate Professor at Montgomery College, Germantown, MD

Parin Chaivisuthangkura, Ph.D.

Research Interests:
   Acid invertase isoforms in Arabidopsis

Email: parinc (at)

Related Pages: pictures, cv, hompage

Currently: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biology, Faculty of Science, Srinakharinwirot University, Bangkok, Thailand.

Richard W. Mercier, Ph.D.

Research Interests:
   Isoforms of cell wall bound acid invertase

Email: rick (at)

Related Pages: cv

Currently: Research Professor at the University of Connecticut

Lei Liu, Ph.D.

Former graduate student, and post doc with Dong-Guk Shin,
continued to collaborate with the Gogarten lab on the
detection of horizontal gene transfer events

Related Pages: homepage

Current position:
   Professor at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, CAS

Elena Hilario, Ph.D.

Research Interests:
   The V-ATPase in Giardia. Horizontal gene transfer, Inteins

Email: ehilario (at) HORTRESEARCH.CO.NZ

Related Pages: pictures, cv, selected slides from Elena's thesis defense

Currently: Staff Scientist at HortResearch, Auckland, New Zealand

Gail Berardino-Lang, M.Sc., Ph.D. (undergraduate student, PhD from Colorado State University)

Research Interests:
   microbial communities in the soil
   horizontal gene transfer

Currently: Graduate Student at Colorado State University

Kristen Dantscher (undergraduate student)

Research Interests:
   Culturing chytrids, V-ATPases in eukaryotic microbes

Email: kdantsch (at)

Related Pages: Pictures

Ryan Murphey (undergraduate student, PhD from Harvard, JD from NYU)

Research Interests:
   Archaeal genes in Deinococcaceae


Currently: Ropes & Gray's Intellectual Property Group

Reema Gulati (undergraduate student)

Research Interests:
   Culturing protists, V-ATPases in putatively deep branching Eukaryotes

Email: reemareems (at)

Currently: Research Assistant at the Keck Foundation Biotechnology Resource Laboratory at Yale University


Torsten Schadtle (graduate student)

Research Interests:
    Inteins in Thermoplasma acidophilum


Currently: Munich


Maria B. Gogarten, Ph.D. (Postdoc)

Research Interests:
   Evolution and function of vacuolar type ATPases


Currently: Writer

Carmen Soileau, Ph.D. (Postdoc)

Research Interests:
    Isolation of cDNAs, characterization of invertase isoforms


Currently: USDA APHIS PHP specialist in invertebrate zoology for the plant pest permit unit


Thomas Starke, Ph.D. (graduate student, PhD)

Research Interests:
   Evolution of ATPase and ATP synthases


Currently: Chairperson for the Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at Nashville State Technical Institute.


Timothy Linkkila (graduate student, MSc)

Research Interests:
   Evolution of ATPase and ATP synthases


Currently: Patent Attorney, Vice President, Intellectual Property and Chief Patent Counsel, Mascoma Corporation