Evolution of multicellularity, bet hedging and
Jennifer Pentz, PhD student
Jordan Gulli completed her undergraduate degree at Duke University, where she studied
Astrobiology. While there, she worked in the Schmid Lab to better understand the role of
transcription factors in the stress response of Halobacterium salinarum, a hypersaline
archaeon. As a graduate student, she has shifted her focus to another area of
astrobiology, and now researches the genetic basis of multicellular traits in
experimentally-evolved yeast. Jordan’s research is supported by a NSF GRF.
Jennifer began her undergraduate career pre-med at the University of Minnesota, Twin
Cities, majoring in biology. She joined the Travisano lab during her senior year, where
she discovered an interest in examining broad ecological and evolutionary questions in
the lab. She is now a first year graduate student in the Ratcliff lab at Georgia Tech,
continuing her work on the snowflake yeast system. Her research focuses on the
emergence of evolvability at the multicellular level, with a focus on how the shift to
multicellularity is established and maintained in the presence of among-cell conflict.
Jordan Gulli, PhD student
Peter Conlin, PhD student in the Kerr lab
(University of Washington, Seattle)
Occupations: God of flow cytometry, dominator of the yeast tetrad dissection microscope.
All who come before his mighty S. cerevisiae plate patching technique quail in fear.
Peter is examining the ability of snowflake yeast to hedge their bets in terms of energy allocation to
offspring when selection is variable, and to evolve the ability to use environmental cues to aid in this
decision making. He is also doing some super cool work on MLS theory during the transition to
multicellularity. It will be a sad day for our lab when he returns to Seattle.
Ozan completed his MS in molecular biology and genetics from Izmir Institute for
Technology in 2010, and his PhD in Evolutionary Biology in 2015 from the Max Planck
Institute for Evolutionary Biology under the supervision of Duncan Greig. Here, he is
investigating the role of oxygen in the evolution of multicellular complexity, egalitarian
transitions in individuality, and the functions relating cell-level to multicellular traits.
Pedro Marquez Zacarias
Pedro joined the Ratcliff lab from the National University in Mexico. Pedro is working on
the evolution of fitness decoupling and novel genetically-regulated development in
snowflake yeast. In his spare time, Pedro shreds on guitar (classically though, not
Ozan Bozdag, Postdoc
Ali Zamani’s background is in Physics, coming to us by way of McMaster University
(where he got a Masters) under the supervision of Paul Higgs. He’s been working on a
bioinformatic project incollaboration with Daniel Weissman at Emory to examine the
dynamics of adaptation in both floc and snowflake yeast.
Josh Borin is doing a post-bac with us while applying to graduate schools. He has two projects, one
examining the evolution of multicellularity in Chlamydomonas (a collaboration with Matthew Herron),
and one examining the ability of multicelluarity in snowflake yeast to potentiate novel innovation.
Josh Borin, technician
Troy von Beck is doing a post-bac in our group, having been accepted into the pharmacology PhD
programs of his choice. He is running the selection experiments on our fitness decoupling project, and
is assisting Ozan with microscopy and image analysis.
Troy von Beck, technician