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Laboratory of Holly Ernest

Lab Alumni

Lab Alumni


Past lab members, what they did, and where are they now?


UWYO Lab 2015-2022

Lab at dinner

L-R clockwise, Megan, Maggie, Laura, Will, Adrienne, Bruce, Jenn, Melanie and Nicole

Adrienne Mackenzie, Undergraduate researchers (2018-2020) and Post-graduate Lab Affiliate (2020-2021), Rocky Mountain Hummingbird Hemoparasite prevalence using genetic and microscopic detection methods. Now in Public Health graduate program at George Washington University.

Nicole Carter, MS (Graduated May 2020), Lab affiliate, Southern Sea Otter Genetics and Disease Ecology

Melanie LaCava, PHD, 2015-2021, Lab Affiliate, PhD work: Pronghorn and Mule Deer Population Genomics and Disease Ecology. Now Postdoctoral Researcher, Genomic Variation Lab, UC Davis focused on conservation genomics of Delta Smelt.

Megan Bonhoeffer, 2020-2021, Technician and Assistant Research Scientist. Now in Wildlife Ecology PhD program at University of Wisconsin

Laura Johnson, 2018-2021, Lab Manager, Lead Technician, and Associate Research Scientist. Now with Wyoming Department of Game and Fish.

Kyle Gustafson, PHD, Lab Affiliate, now Asst Prof at Arkansas State Univ, and working with us on mountain lion genomics, bear genetics, and other projects in the lab.  Completed 2-year postdoc in our lab, 2016-2018.

Erick Gagne, PHD, Lab Affiliate, now  Assistant Professor of Wildlife Disease Ecology, University of Pennsylvania, and continuing work on Mountain lion and Sea Otter projects with our lab. Completed 2-year postdoc in our lab, 2015-2017.

Sierra Love Stowell PhD; Lab Affiliate, now Research Genomicist, Now based in Boulder; bighorn sheep and Cutthroat Trout genetics. Completed 2-year postdoc in our lab, 2016-2018.

Will Swain – Lab affiliate, Jan 2020-June 2021

Braden Godwin – 2015-2019 Graduate student, graduated December 2019 with MS with dual majors Veterinary Science and Environmental and Natural Resources /Haub School. Brady focused on hummingbird ecology, population genomics, and population health.

Maggie Johnson – 2018-2019 Wildlife Genetics Undergraduate Paid Intern. Ungulate genetics project. graduated with BS from Univ Wyoming May 2019. Next step – MS in ungulate pathobiology with Dr. Jenn Malmberg, Department of Veterinary Sciences, Univ. Wyoming.

Lab members posing outside on campus

Lab members in 2018: L to R, Kyle, Bruce*, Erin, Brady, Melanie, Holly, Beth with baby Quin, Emily, Millie, Adrienne, Maggie

Emily Winward – 2018-2019 Wildlife Genetics Undergraduate Paid Intern. Ungulate genetics project. Graduated with BS from Univ Wyoming May 2019.

Beth Mendelsohn2016-2018 MS Student, Great Gray Owl Genomics, Graduated MS December 2018 with MS with dual majors Veterinary Science and Environmental and Natural Resources /Haub School.  Next step – raptor biologist with the Owl Research Institute and Teton Raptor Center.

Millie (Vazquez) Gustafson – 2016-2018 Wildlife Genetics Lab Technician.  Next step – Adjunct Faculty, Biology, Missouri Southern State University.

Sierra Stellern – 2017 Wildlife Genetics Undergraduate Intern.

Erin Bentley –  2015-2017 Wildlife Genetics Undergraduate Paid Intern and NSF REU grant recipient for the NSF EEID mountain lion project. Then MS in Conservation Genomics of Plants in Alex Buerkle’s UWyo lab.  She graduated with an undergrad degree from UWyo in December of 2017.

Lab members posing outside UW

Lab photo from 2016: L to R, Melanie, Brady, Sierra, Erick, Beth, Kyle, Holly, Erin, Bruce

Erick Gagne PhD – 2015-2017 Postdoctoral Researcher, Mountain lion and Sea otter projects, now at Colorado State University. Continuing collaborations

Giulia Vernati  – 2015 Lab Manager/Research Scientist, now with Wyoming Department of Agriculture



UC Davis Lab 2002-2016

Lauren AyalaVeterinary student STAR research program  now veterinarian in California.
Sarah Bahan – Veterinary Student STAR summer 2013 intern (Hummingbird Disease Ecology project). Hemoparasite study; Veterinarian as of June 2016.
Sarah BrownLaboratory Manager/technician; graduate student researcher; now postdoc at UC Merced
Kelsey Brust – Wildlife Genetics Undergraduate Intern; now veterinarian and Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging Resident at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Michael Buchalski – Postdoctoral Scholar: landscape genetics, bighorn sheep projects; Following postdoc after our lab, at New Mexico State Univ. and Oregon State Univ and now Wildlife Geneticist for Calif. Dept of Fish and Wildlife.
Megan Caulder– Forensic Science Graduate Student (with VGL Forensic Unit) – Deer Genetics; now forensic geneticist with California Dept of Justice and California Association of Criminalists
Julia Collins – Master’s Degree 2004, Forensic Science Graduate Group; now geneticist at Veterinary Genetics Lab
Scott Crosbie PhD – PhD in Animal Biology – Yellow-billed Magpie Project, Western Scrub Jays
Lisa Dalbeck – Laboratory Manager & Technician; now geneticist at Veterinary Genetics Lab
Caitlin DalbyWildlife Genetics Undergraduate Intern, now teacher in California
Yoshinori EndoWildlife Genetics Undergraduate Intern; now PhD student in Australia
Nuradilla Mohamad FauziWildlife Genetics Undergraduate Intern; finished PhD in genetics and now scientist in Malaysia
Daphne Gille – 2016 completed PhD in Integrative Genomics and Genetics Graduate Group – desert bighorn sheep genetics at our UC Davis lab) and sturgeon genetics at UC Davis Genomic Variation Lab. Now at California Department of Fish and Wildlife Genetics Lab
Loreto Godoy – Veterinarian, MPVM and PhD in Ecology in our lab; hummingbird conservation genetics
Elinor Granzow Veterinary student STAR research program, now veterinarian in California
Kelly Hagadorn – undergraduate Wildlife Genetics intern and BUSP program; now employed San Diego Zoo.
Ben HarmelingVeterinary student STAR research program; Yellow-billed Magpie Project, now veterinarian in Washington
Elizabeth HeegMaster’s Degree Genetics Graduate Group; finished PhD in New Zealand, was a postdoctoral researcher, now employed in Ministry for Primary Industries (Forestry issues) in New Zealand
Jasna Hodzic – Wildlife Genetics Undergraduate Intern, now employed as Restoration Technician at Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, California
Joshua Hull – PhD, in Ecology and Post-doctoral research; now Branch Chief in US Fish and Wildlife Service & Adjunct Asst Prof, UCD
Amanda Irish Veterinary student STAR research program; Undergraduate Wildlife Genetics Intern; now veterinarian completed Masters of Public Health, UC Berkeley, next working on PhD in Epidemiology at UC San Francisco with One Health interests.
Megan JenningsPhD , Joint Doctoral Program in Ecology: Lewison lab San Diego State University & our lab; Post-doctoral Research Scholar and then Research Associate at San Diego State’s Institute for Ecological Monitoring and Management
Eric Jepsen – MS student in Avian Science – Great Gray Owl Project; became a wildlife biologist
Jennifer KurushimaTechnician, Genetics graduate student rotation; completed genetics PhD, now employed as Adjunct Faculty at Gavilan College, California
Lydia LamVeterinary student STAR research program; Sea Otter Project;  now veterinarian, Reno, NV
Janet Landa – Undergraduate Wildlife Genetics Intern; now veterinarian Los Angeles
Elizabeth LongGraduate Student Researcher; PhD student in Ecology, now postdoc, UCLA California
Joe Medleycompleted MS in Avian Science – Great Gray Owl Project, next became wildlife biologist for an NGO
Christopher Micheletti Vet Student STAR 2012 intern & Undergrad Wildlife Genetics Intern; now veterinarian
Priya Motupalli – Magpie Monitor Undergraduate Intern and volunteer coordinator; completed MS and PhD, now Animal Welfare Specialist at World Animal Protection US
Elizabeth MullaneyUndergraduate Wildlife Genetics Intern
Anne Pelligrini – MS student in Avian Science – House Finch/West Nile virus project; now ornithologist in Arizona
Sarah PitzerMaster’s Degree Avian Science Graduate Group; Lake Tahoe Conservation Center, then Naturalist, Missouri Dept. Conservation
Brian Ramming – Informatics Undergraduate Intern to build wildlife database; now Software Engineer at Intel Corporation.
Kalyn RecordsUndergraduate Wildlife Genetics Intern; became a Lab Manager
Ben Sacks  – Post-doctoral Researcher & Asst Project Ecologist; now Adjunct Associate Professor, UC Davis
Jamie ShermanGraduate student.  Now veterinarian.
Levi Souza – MS in Ecology; Now Upland Game Envir. Specialist, Calif. Dept. Fish and Wildlife
Mary SticeVeterinary student STAR research program; Hummingbird Project; now Veterinarian and Epidemiology PhD student
Tara Thiemann – visiting post-doc, from laboratory of Dr. William Reisen; now Asst Professor at University of the Pacific
Jacob Tupper Veterinary Student STAR summer 2013 intern (Bear Disease Ecology project)
Danielle Tufts – Undergraduate Wildlife Genetics Intern
Leanne TaylorVeterinary student STAR research program; now veterinarian
Jay WellLaboratory Manager/technician; now Oregon State Univ. SMILE program
Crystal Williams Undergraduate Wildlife Genetics Intern; now veterinarian

In Memoriam

*Loreto Godoy DVM – PhD Candidate in Ecology & Conservation Management Program; MPVM (Masters in Preventive  Veterinary Medicine) – Sea otter project; Hummingbird Health and Genetics Project in our lab.
A bright ray of sunshine, a treasured scientist and colleague, very sorely missed.
Loreto Godoy Memorial Scholarship


*Scott Crosbie PhD – PhD in Animal Biology – Yellow-billed Magpie Project, Western Scrub Jays.
A friend wrote this in Scott’s honor: “There will be brilliantly feathered birds where you are going who will sing their lovely and welcoming songs and you’ll call them by name”.