Current lab members:

John McCutcheon, PI

Assistant Professor, University of Montana
Fellow, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)

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

Toby Spribille

Postdoctoral Fellow

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

I am a lichen evolutionary ecologist currently with two main goals: to develop protocols for culture-free whole lichen genomics, and to zone in on evolutionary innovations coupled with the emergence of lichen symbiosis from saprotrophic ancestors. I am also a biodiversity freak.

Personal website | 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.

Dan Vanderpool

Third 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

Second 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.

Filip Husnik

Fulbright Fellow, 2014-2015, University of Montana
PhD student, University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic

BS, Biology, University of South Bohemia

Filip collaborates with us on the mealybug system, and has returned to the lab as a fellow of the Fulbright Foreign Student Program for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Tim Wheeler

Second 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

Recent UM graduate
Major: Cell and Molecular Biology

Academic interests: Insect-bacterial symbiosis.

Mark Buckner

3rd year UM undergraduate
Majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Academic interests: Insect-bacterial symbiosis.


Nicole Gerardo

Associate Professor, Emory University

Research Interests: Ecology and evolution of insect-microbe interactions, tacos, and a good cup of coffee.

Philipp Resl

PhD student, University of Graz, Austria

Research Interests: lichenology, symbiosis, genomics, and phylogenetics.

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.

Alex Wilson

Associate Professor, Department of Biology, University of Miami

Research Interests: The genomic, metabolic and developmental integration and evolution of obligate intracellular symbioses, amino acid transport.

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.

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.

Personal website

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.