Our lab has enjoyed hosting over 45 undergraduate researchers over the years.  Many of these have gone on to graduate or professional school.

TziporahSerotaTziporah Serota  – Tziporah began in our lab as a high school senior, and has continued on for a few years.  She has been working on quantifying germination of Callery pear seeds, updating the classic Reichard and White (2001) review of invasive woody plants, and researching why Callery pear trees are appearing in forest interiors. Tziporah is now a grad student at Stony Brook.

Alexis Wafer  – Alexis worked on a variety of projects, including a published study on Rhamnus and a very interesting study of the effect of the tiki on PCR productivity. Alexis is now a graduate student at The Ohio State University.

Monroe Conner  – Monroe worked with Megan Philpott to develop microsatellite markers the Lakeside Daisy and to extract DNA on a variety of CREW projects.

MarwaMarwa Ammar – After working towards her MS degree in Egypt, Marwa has been volunteering in the lab to learn genetic techniques.  She is also a team member in our Publication Bias project, conducted with UC’s Digital Scholarship Center.

Katherine Curtis  – Kate started to work in our lab in early 2018 to learn about DNA extraction techniques and to assist in the Camassia project.

Diana Bolton – During summer of 2018, Diana had been working to generate microsatellite data on several plants, under the tutelage of Megan Philpott.

Katrina Culbertson – A recent graduate of Miami University, Katrina has been working in our laboratory during 2018 as a summer intern for our Hawaiian Plant Project with the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s CREW team.  She has been instrumental in testing different microsatellite markers for amplification in a variety of rare, endangered plant species as part of the larger project.

JackHindersJack Hinders – As an enthusiastic botanist, Jack worked in the lab to collect photographic images of invasive plant species and drafted several information sheets. (2017)


Jacob Keshtvarz – Jacob started in our lab, assisting others, but quickly realized that he wanted to continue his research studies.  He will continue working with our lab group as a MS student with Dr. Eric Tepe. (2017)

Brittney Conover – Brittney helped in a variety of roles, including with the Ohio invasive plants assessment, and also in putting on activities for local schoolchildren about Lucy and Annette Braun. (2017)

LisaWalthmathLisa Waltamath – Lisa helped out in the lab on a variety of projects, mainly dealing with DNA extractions and PCR.  Most recently, she assisted on a Camassia project looking at genetic patterns in sympatric and allopatric populations in the western US. (2017-2018)

CarolineCainCaroline Cain  – Caroline took the lead on a soybean project, looking at maternal effects of exposure to diesel exhaust. (2015-2018).

Ilana and Yulia Vinnik – Ilana and Yulia were instrumental in several different projects in the Culley lab. They were involved in microsatellite analysis of pollen and honey samples, invasive plant assessments of introduced species in Ohio, and a soybean experiement to look at maternal and fitness effects of exposure to diesel exhaust. (2015-2016)

William Lawrence – William learned general laboratory techniques and assisted others in the lab. (2014)

Sher Gill – Sher was our resident expert in the 96-well DNA extraction technique and is currentlty working on a genetic study involving introduced and native populations of the invasive Japanese Stiltgrass. (2014-2015)

RTRobert Tunison – Robert started out helping in the lab, but quickly discovered his intense interest in botany (as well as a containing interest in ornithology).  He focused on microsatellite analysis of Camassia and developed on his own study using pollen-based PCR analysis of herbarium samples. He is currently a MS student in our laboratory.  (2014-2015)

Kala Stephens – Kala was indispensible in examining pollen and particulate matter deposition on stigmas collected from plants along various types of roadways. (2014-2016)

AMAli Meier – Ali assisted Susan Jaconis with the design and implemenation of her air pollution study during Summer, 2013, and continued in the lab with microscopic examination of floral structures. (2013-2014)

Alex Zumberger – Alex was a key assistant in Kim Thompson’s genetic work on Manilkara sapota. (2014)

Cameron Brown – Cameron was responsible for stomatal counts on leaf tissue of plants exposed to diesel exhaust as part of Susan Jaconis’ PhD experiment. (2013)

RERobert Elam – Robert started out by helping Susan Jaconis with her fieldwork during Summer 2013 examining the effects of diesel exhaust on plant health and reproduction, but then eventually took on his own project the following year.  He returned to the graduate program, earning his MS degree in 2018 and is now in the PhD program in our laboratory. (2013-2015)

Margaret Schuster – Margaret became proficient in DNA extractions of plants and took care of our plants in the greenhouse.

Kathy Little – Kathy helped out with DNA extractions with various projects, as well as assisting Kim Thompson with her Maya study. (2011-2012)

Stephanie Albers – Stephanie learned about DNA extractions and worked on learning PCR as part of our stiltgrass study. (2011-2012)

SSSvetlana Stancheva – Beginning in the winter of 2011, Svetlana became proficient in DNA extraction protocols, especially with our new 96-well plate extraction technique.  She also learned PCR and assisted in the Japanese stiltgrass study. (2010-2011

CleoCleo Nguyen – Cleo assisted Katherine Finan in her soil project and learned about DNA extraction techniques using Japanese stiltgrass. (2011)

MeganMegan Phillpot – A genetic focus on Hawaiian Schiedeaspecies was Megan’s project, dealing with both a genetic bottleneck event in S. adamantis and dispersal of S. globosa. Megan accompanied Theresa Culley and Sunita Yadav to Hawaii in 2012 for fieldwork. Megan returned to the lab as a graduate student and earned her PhD in 2018.  She is now a post-doc at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden’s Center for the Research of Endangered Wildlife (CREW). (2011)

MBMelanie Brusky – Melanie worked with Megan Philpott on genetic studies dealing with the Hawaiian endemic shrubs, Schiedea adamantis and S. globosa. They analzyed microsatellite and allozyme data. (2011)

AllisonAllison Mastalerz – Allison started as aWISE (Women in Science and Engineering) summer student, working on a project exploring the escape of ornamental plants outside of botanical gardens.  She continued on in the lab, eventually joining the MS graduate program.  She graduated and now instructs biology courses in the department. (2010)

Amine Bellasri – Amine assisted with genetic projects, learning DNA Extraction and PCR techniques. (2010)

KatherineKatherine Finan – Katherine combined her interests in botany and geology in a study examining vegetational and soil changes in a local woodlot in Cincinnati over the past 80+ years. (2010-2012)

Andrew Plassard  – Andrew helped with general lab projects, learning new techniques. (2010)

Ben Merritt and Josh Jones – Ben and Josh examined the ecophysiology (photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance, and water use efficiency) in invasive Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) under normal and drought-stressed conditions, using the LI-COR 6400 infrared gas analyzer.  Ben returned to the graduate program and is now a PhD Candidate in our lab, working on a GIS-based project, co-advised with Dr. Steve Matter. (Josh: 2010-2012; Ben: 2010-2014)

Helena Polychroniou – Helena participated on the Callery pear project where she was responsible for comparing the reproductive output of different cultivars as well as quantifying their outcrossing rates. (2009)

Jennifer Hawks – Jennifer had been responsible for several projects in the lab, including a preliminary soil study of allelopathy in the Callery pears, DNA extraction of Rhamnus samples, and microsatellite analysis of pear scion and rootstock. (2008-2010)

KaylaKayla Phelps – Kayla led a survey of ash trees in the city of Montgomery, Ohio.  In addition to using GPS to identify the location of each tree, she also collected leaf samples for DNA analysis to identify the level of genetic variation in this species before it was exposed to the Emerald Ash Borer. (2008-2009)

David Haase – David helped with general lab protocol and assisting other students. He also assisted with the Montgomery ash tree survey. (2008)

Jules Rosen – Jules learned DNA extraction techniques as well as PCR to gain experience working in a lab. (2008)

KellyKelly Putnam  – Kelly’s project was to assist in the development of microsatellite markers in the Hawaiian endemic species, Schiedea adamantis.  After completing this work, she also helped out in a population genetic project with a related species, Schiedea globosa.  Kelly obtained her PhD in nutritional science at the University of Kentucky before continuing on to a post-doc in California. (2007-2008)

KapKapilan Rajagopalan – Kap assisted in the development of microsatellite markers for buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) and was responsible for extracting DNA from samples collected from all over the world. (2007)

Jessica Gottmann – Jessica designed and completed an independent study project looking at the effects of airborne particulate matter on plant reproduction.  She graduated with her BS degree and attended the UC Pharmacy program. (2007)

Nichole Cordell – Nichole conducted an independent undergraduate research project looking at the effects of acid rain on the ecophysiology and biomass of sunflower (Helianthus annuus). (2007)

Adam Hoenle – Adam assisted Matt Klooster in the development of microsatellite markers for Monotropa hypopitys. (2006)

TeganTracyTegan Smedley and Tracy Reeb – Tegan (left) and Tracy  (right) together began developing microsatellite markers for the invasive species, Autumn Olive and Russian Olive.  Tegan and Tracy both enrolled in the UC Pharmacy program. (2006-2007)

MikeMichael Brunner – Mike was interested in the spread of Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii)in southwestern Ohio.  He began developing genetic markers for the species as well as using GPS technology to map out the spatial distribution of invasive populations. (2006-2009)

AndyAndy Schwartz = Andy worked on daffodils to develop Inter-Simple Sequence Repeat (ISSR) genetic markers and microsatellite markers to identify the different daffodil cultivars. (2006-2009)

Sarah McCann – Sarah conducted pear DNA extractions, PCR, and information databasing during her time in the lab. (2005-2006)

Brian Robin – As a laboratory researcher, Brian was responsible for DNA extractions and PCR for pear samples from Maryland. (2005-2006)

AnnaAnna Fiskin – As a member of the Women In Science and Engineering Program at UC, Anna traveled to Belarus where she apprenticed to a local healer.  She documented local plants used to treat a variety of medical conditions and the collection techniques necessary to maximize the potency of these plants. Anna worked towards a joint M.D. degree and a M.S. degree in medical anthropology at Case Western University before attending Oxford University. (2005-2006)

Caitlin Arnest – Caitlin became very interested in Korean ethnobotany about taking our Medical Botany course.  She developed a project in the University Honors Program where she conducted research and created a book following her study abroad trip for one semester to South Korea. (2005-2006)

SarahSarah Sbita – Sarah worked with Viola pubescens,extracting DNA and running PCR to study the genetic structure of urban populations in the Cincinnati area.  Sarah then attended medical school in northern Ohio after working as a laboratory technician with Dr. Elke Buschbeck. (2004)

MaryAnnMaryAnn Paul – During her time in the lab, MaryAnn learned molecular techniques, such as DNA extraction, PCR, and microsatellite design for the yellow violet, Viola pubescens. (2004)

AnneAnne Wick Anne extracted DNA from samples of Viola pubescens collected throughout the Greater Cincinnati area.  She also worked on an ISSR project that explored the effect of urbanization on the genetic structure and levels of gene flow.  Anne then attended the graduate program in environmental science at Miami University in Ohio. (2003-2004)

KimKim Thompson – As part of the Women In Science & Engineering program at UC, Kim studied the species richness and diversity of several wetlands in the Cincinnati area.  Kim graduated from the Master’s Program in Secondary Education at UC, and fter teaching high school science courses in the Cincinnati area, Kim returned to UC to earn her PhD.  She is currently an Instructor at Ohio University. (2003)