Happy Holidays from the Morran Lab!

Santa elegans

Santa elegans artwork and original idea credit goes to grad student Kim Hoang.

The members of the Morran lab (pictured according to our Hogwarts Houses) are eagerly awaiting our visit from Santa elegans. We’ve been good worm biologists (regularly chunking our worms and keeping those mites away) and look forward to all Santa elegans has in store for us this next year. We wish all you scientists and future scientists happy holidays, and we hope Santa elegans visits you too.


Levi’s Halloween Antics

Continuing a long-running Halloween prank, Levi dressed as his graduate advisor, Patrick Phillips. This year many people were in on the prank as well. There were Patricks everywhere on Halloween!

Many thanks to Katja Kasimatis, Asher Cutter, Hang Lu, Dave Baltrus, Rose Reynolds, Janna Fierst, Bryn Gaertner, Tim Ahearne, and the current Phillips lab members!



Many members of the Morran lab attend this year’s SEPEEG (South Eastern Population Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics) conference at Mountain Lake Biological Station in Virginia. Kim and Signe had the opportunity to give talks, and Jordan, Kayla, and Rishika presented posters. Jordan won the Best Graduate Student Poster award!

Mandy wins 2018 Dobzhansky Prize

Congratulations to Postdoc Mandy Gibson for winning the 2018 Dobzhansky Prize!


The Theodosius Dobzhansky Prize is awarded annually by the Society for the Study of Evolution to recognize the accomplishments and future promise of an outstanding young evolutionary biologist. The prize was established in memory of Professor Dobzhansky by his friends and colleagues, and reflects his lifelong commitment to fostering the research careers of young scientists.

Mandy is the first woman to win both the John Maynard Smith Prize and the Dobzhansky Prize.

Learn more about Mandy’s work here.

Undergraduate Research Symposium

Three undergraduate students from the Morran Lab participated in the 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Angela’s poster – The Effect of Copper Barriers on Caenorhabditis elegans Dispersion Over Time

Manraj’s poster – Mapping the Loci Underlying Caenorhabditis elegans Host Defense to the Bacterial Parasite Serratia marcescens
Helena’s poster – Experimental Evolution of Parasite Host Range

angela symposiumManraj symposiumHelena symposium