New Lab Member

PBEE student Emily Smith

Everyone please welcome the Morran lab’s newest PhD student, Emily Smith! Emily comes to us after completing her undergraduate degree at Agnes Scott College and working for a bit as a research tech at NC State. Emily has a strong background in math and is looking to apply that to the worm system in the host-parasite coevolution and mating system evolution realm. Welcome to the team!

Congrats to Dr. Smith

Dr. Smith of the CDC

Hickman/Morran lab grad student, Amanda Smith, successfully defended her dissertation. Congrats Amanda!!!!! While we will miss her in the lab, she won’t be far away (just across the street, in fact). Amanda will be an ORISE fellow at the CDC. Great work, Amanda!

When not at the CDC, Dr. Amanda can be found hanging with her puppy named Darwin.

Jordan inducted into Bouchet Honors Society and named Emory’s Robertson Fellow

Big congrats to Jordan Lewis! He was recently inducted into the Edward A. Bouchet Honors Society, which recognizes outstanding scholarship and contributions to diversity in academia. Inductees must exhibit exceptional character, leadership, advocacy, scholarship, and service, and Jordan has done just that during his time in our lab.

Jordan was also recently named Emory University’s Robertson Fellow in Science and Society for the 2021-2022 school year. As part of this fellowship, Jordan will design and teach a course for undergraduates on ethics in the sciences.

Great job Jordan!

Amanda wins best talk at SEPEEG

Huge congrats to Amanda Smith for bringing home the award for best talk at the Southeastern Population Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics (SEPEEG) meeting! Her talk was on the effects of host immune function on Candida albicans genome instability (a super cool project with Meleah Hickman). She clearly has this talk thing down, as this was her second win for best talk at a meeting (Emory DSAC 2020) and she was recently a finalist for Emory’s 3 minute thesis talk competition. Great work Amanda!

Welcome to the lab Dr. Jenn Gresham

Ok, this post is long overdue. Jenn joined the lab in August 2020 and she has been an incredible addition to our crew. Jenn is a FIRST postdoctoral fellow and has a strong background studying mating system evolution in fish. She is also an excellent teacher and mentor, having previously worked as a middle and high school science teacher. Her intelligence, enthusiasm, and experience has been an excellent addition to our lab.

Jenn is excited to use the C. elegans system to continue studying mating system evolution and teach undergraduates as part of the FIRST program.

Welcome Jenn! We are so glad to have you on our team.

A happy and sad farewell

Congrats to Morran lab tech/manager extraordinaire, McKenna Penley, on receiving her MPH and immediately landing a great job at the CDC! We are all very proud of you and happy for you.

Levi and McKenna founded the Morran lab in 2014, after working together from 2010 through 2013 at Indiana University. McKenna’s hard work, intelligence, values, and friendly demeanor played a major role in shaping the positive and supportive culture of the lab. McKenna led many successful projects and trained over 20 undergraduates and 10 graduate students in the lab. She will be greatly missed, but we are all very excited to see her pursue her dream. Its also quite nice that she won’t be too far away.


McKenna with Josh enjoying post-worm life.