Marcus Kronforst

Marcus Kronforst is a Professor in the Department of Ecology & Evolution and the lab PI. His research focuses on the genetics and evolution of mimicry and speciation in butterflies. He and the members of his lab apply a combination of molecular and population genetics, phylogenetics, behavioral studies, and field research to address questions regarding evolution and genetics of adaptation and speciation.

Erick Bayala
Postdoctoral Associate

Erick Bayala is studying the developmental biology of butterflies, spanning embryology, wing patterning and pigmentation, and wing scale ultrastructure.

Isabella Cisneros
Undergraduate Student

Isabella is studying the evolution of development in Heliconius butterflies.

Meredith Doellman
Postdoctoral Associate

Meredith Doellman is a Chicago Fellow studying population and functional genomics of color pattern polymorphism in swallowtail butterflies.

Paula Fernandez-Begne
Graduate Student

Paula Fernandez-Begne is a Ph.D. student in the Ecology & Evolution graduate training program. Paula is studying the evolution and genetics of plant/insect interactions.

Micah Freedman
Postdoctoral Associate

Micah Freedman is an NSF Post-doctoral Fellow studying migratory behavior and host-plant interactions of monarch butterflies.

Wei Lu
Graduate Student

Wei Lu is a Ph.D. student in the Ecology & Evolution graduate program. Wei’s research focuses on the evolution and genetics of mating behavior in Heliconius butterflies.

Darli Massardo
Lab Manager

Darli Massardo is the lab manager and a research scientist with areas of expertise that include genomics and genome editing.

Cristian Molina
Undergraduate Student

Cristian is studying monarch butterfly migration behavior.

Rachel Moran
Postdoctoral Associate

Rachel Moran is a Chicago Fellow using behavioral and genomic approaches to investigate local adaptation, sexual selection, and speciation in fishes.

Timothy O’Connor
Postdoctoral Associate

Tim O’Connor is an NIH NRSA Post-doctoral fellow studying interactions between pierid butterflies and their Brassicaceae host-plants.

Sofia Sheikh
Graduate Student

Sofia is a Ph.D. student in the Ecology & Evolution graduate program. She is studying the evolution and development of supergene mimicry in swallowtail butterflies.

Hsiang-Yu Tsai
Graduate Student

Hsiang-Yu Tsai is a Ph.D. student in the Ecology & Evolution graduate program. Hsiang-Yu is studying the environmental and molecular determinants of monarch butterfly migration behavior.

Nicholas W. VanKuren
Postdoctoral Associate

Nick VanKuren is an NIH-funded post-doctoral scholar who is investigating the functional genomics of swallowtail supergene mimicry and the genetic basis of mate preference in Heliconius.


Piper is a lab and greenhouse assistant and our designated butterfly herder!


Mochi is our calm, soothing lab therapy dog (well, that’s what we aspire to at least 😀).