CulleyDr. Theresa Culley – PI

Dr. Culley is a plant evolutionary biologist who us very curious and loves to explore new questions, especially involving the plant world. She studies both rare, endangered species as well as invasive plants, and is interested in working with diverse groups of individuals.

Graduate Students

RachelBridgensRachel Bridgens (MS student)
Having been trained in the lab as an undergraduate, Rachel discovered her gift for genetic analyses and benchwork. Combined with her interest in conservation and rare species, she took on a collaborative project with the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s CREW Facility, working in part with Dr. Valerie Pence and Dr. Megan Philpott (a previous graduate of our lab). Rachel focused on the population genetics of extremely rare and federally endangered species in the Hawaiian Islands, working with scientists at Lyon Arboretum in Honoloulu. Rachel recently accepted a position with the Cincinnati Museum Center.

RERobert Elam  (PhD Student)
Robert completed his MS degree in our laboratory, focusing on the effects of coal particulates on plant growth and responses to light stimuli.  He is now working towards his PhD, focusing on the population genetics of wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei), a relatively new invasive vine in Ohio.

MaxWinkeljohnMax Winkeljohn (PhD Student)
Having started as an undergraduate researcher, Max has quickly progressed to developing his own interest in working with endangered oak and ash tree species in collaboration with Dr. Valerie Pence at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s CREW facility. He is currently focusing on improving the methodology of in vitro micropropagation and cryopreservation techniques.

Former Graduate Students

Undergraduate Students

kaitlyn-reimer-200x250Kaitlyn Reimer
Kaitlyn joined our lab this year to gain more experience in plant biology. A whiz already at DNA extraction and PCR because of her previous lab experience, she is currently helping to finish off our genetic project with the rare Hawaiian herb, Schiedea adamantis.

Kristie Liew
After joining our lab this year as a first-year Biology student at UC, Kristie is learning about DNA analysis and trying to figure out what type of project she would like to focus on for the future.

Mason Harris 

As an enthusiast of all things fungi, Mason has been working on his undergraduate capstone project in out lab. He assisted with plant surveys at a local forest over the summer and fall, and is now focusing on invasive plant assessments for the state of Ohio. He likes to point out that sometimes his hair color matches fungus in the forest!


Rebecca Holdren 
Becca started in our lab Spring 2021 and then began helping with the Publication Bias Project. She eventually took on a Monarch-Milkweed project with the aim of developing a customized Monarch diet in which we can adjust the type of milkweed species used in the recipe (now known as “Becca’s mix”).

Sarah Bartlett
As a gifted ballet dancer and dual Biology/Dance major at UC, Sarah also pursues her interest in plant biology. She  studied the growth and development of sunflowers under normal greenhouse glazing (that blocks UV light) and greenhouse glazing adapted for insect experimentation (that allows UV light through).

MadisonMadison Winter
After taking some botany classes in her last year of her undergraduate time at UC, Madison discovered her love of plants (and fungus). She embarked on a study of plant growth and development under different types of greenhouse glazing, and currently trains new student workers in the UC Margaret Fulford Herbarium.

Former Undergraduate Students

Affiliated Members

EricTepeEric Tepe – An Assistant Professor in the Biological Sciences Department, Dr. Tepe shares our lab suite and our lab members are highly intermixed.  He is a plant systematist with expertise in the Solanaceae and the Piper genus. Together with Dr. Culley, they greatly enjoy co-teaching Medical Botany (BIOL 3052).

MariaTorresMaria Torres – Dr. Torres is Assistant Professor-Educator in our department who conducts her research with Eric Tepe in our laboratory suite.  She teaches a number of courses in our department and also serves as an academic advisor to a number of our majors. Originally from Columbia, she is also a member of our Publication Bias project.