Current lab members:

John McCutcheon, PI

Associate Professor, University of Montana

BS, Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin, 1996
MS, Human Genetics, University of Utah, 2000
PhD, Computational Biology, Washington University in St. Louis, 2006
PERT Postdoctoral Fellow with Nancy Moran, University of Arizona, 2006-2010

Google Scholar profile

Piotr Łukasik

Postdoctoral Fellow

MS, Biology, Jagiellonian University, Poland, 2006
PhD, Zoology, University of Oxford, UK, 2011

Academic interests: the role of symbiotic microorganisms in the ecology and evolution of insects.

Stephanie Ray Weldon

NASA Postdoctoral Fellow
PhD, Entomology, University of Georgia, 2015

I’m an entomologist moonlighting as a microbiologist: my interests lie in the maternally inherited mutualistic bacteria that dramatically affect insect ecology and evolution. I am currently focused on the multipartite, exceedingly tightly-integrated symbiosis between mealybugs and their various intracellular nutritional bacteria.

DeAnna Bublitz

Postdoctoral Fellow
PhD, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Stony Brook University, 2012

I am a microbiologist who has moved from the world of intracellular pathogens to intracellular endosymbionts. I am fascinated with the interactions between prokaryotes and their host eukaryotes, whether they be mutually beneficial or not. Currently, my goal is to decipher some of the mechanisms that drive the integration of insects and their endosymbionts.

Maria Kupper

Postdoctoral Fellow
PhD, Microbiology, University of Würzburg, 2016

I am a microbiologist who has become quite fascinated with symbiont-host interactions. My major research interests are mechanisms of endosymbiont tolerance and control within insect hosts and endosymbiont transmission. Currently, I am working on establishing various genetic techniques to study the unusual tripartite nested endosymbiosis in mealybugs.

Dan Vanderpool

Fourth year graduate student
CMMB PhD Program, Microbial Ecology option

BS, Biology, University of Idaho

I do comparative genomics of beetle-vectored fungal symbionts, such as those in symbioses with the mountain pine beetle. These fungi are many and varied in their degree of host association and host tree pathogenicity. We seek to understand the genomic features associated with transitions to symbiosis and pathogenicity.

Google Scholar profile

Matt Campbell

Fourth year graduate student
OBE PhD Program

BA, Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology, Vanderbilt University

I'm broadly interested in molecular evolution and genomics, and the ways in which evolution can be detected in sequences of DNA. I study some very strange cicadas that harbor some very strange bacteria, which will hopefully help us better understand the evolution of bacterial endosymbionts, including those we now know as mitochondria and chloroplasts.

Tim Wheeler

Third year graduate student
OBE MS Program

BS, Geology, University of Montana, 2004

I am broadly interested in the taxonomy and evolutionary history of Fungi, with a specific focus on those fungi caught up in the lichen symbiosis. My current project is a phylogenomic inquiry of the saxicolous lichen genus Aspicilia.

Mariah Meyer

BS, University of Montana, Cell and Molecular Biology

Mariah is the our lab manager and a senior technician.

Lab Alumni:

Amanda Brown

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2011-2013

BS, Zoology, University of British Columbia
PhD, Zoology, University of British Columbia

Current position: Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University.

Toby Spribille

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2012-2017

BS, Biology, University of Göttingen (Germany), 2006
PhD, Plant Sciences, University of Graz (Austria), 2011

Current position: Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta

JT Van Leuven

PhD in 2015, CMMB PhD Program, Microbial Ecology option

BS, Biology and Math, Carroll College

Current position: Postdoc at the University of Idaho.

Filip Husnik

PhD in 2017, joint with the University of South Bohemia

BS and MS, University of South Bohemia

Current position: Postdoc at the University of British Columbia.

Kaitlin Carey

BS, Biochemistry, University of Montana

Kelly Nelson

BS, Microbiology and Human Biological Sciences, University of Montana

Current position: Medical Laboratory Scientist, Presbyterian St. Luke's Hospital, Denver

Caitlin Bolender

BS, Cell and Molecular Biology and Human Biological Sciences, University of Montana

Current position: Medical School, University of Washington.

Mark Buckner

BS, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Montana


Pamela Bjorkman

Centennial Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering,
California Institute of Technology

Victoria Orphan

James Irvine Professor of Environmental Science and Geobiology,
California Institute of Technology

Laura Ross

NERC independent research fellow, Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh

Research Interests: Understanding why reproduction is so variable across life.

Chris Simon

Professor, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, U. Connecticut

Research Interests: Phylogenetics, evolution, biodiversity, biogeography, cicada systematics.

Diana Six

Professor, Forest Entomology/Pathology, U. Montana

Research Interests: Evolution and maintenance of symbioses occurring among bark beetles, ambrosia beetles and fungi.

Claudio Veloso

Professor, Departamento de Ciencias Ecológicas, U. Chile

Research Interests: Physiological ecology of insects.

Blake Wiedenheft

Assistant Professor,
Montana State University