We're a motley crew that share a love for science, nature and having fun!
Jason L. Brown
As a youth, he explored the outdoors of rural South Dakota developing his love for amphibians and nature. He fostered these interests by majoring in biology at Moorhead State University Minnesota and then took the academic road, getting his Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies in Biology from East Carolina University in 2009.
Since 2003, Jason spent over 32 months in the field studying and observing tropical amphibians, traveling much of Central and South America and Madagascar. One of Jason's oldest research interests is on the behavioral ecology, phylogeography, and taxonomy of Neotropical poison frogs. His interests in poison frogs existed before his academic career, and continue to deepen with his growing knowledge of their seemingly endless phenotypic variation and complex mating, parental care and social behaviors. Today Jason studies a broad array of things, most of his research focuses on temporal and spatial variation in habitats and how they influence the generation and maintenance of biodiversity.
Likes: Traveling, hiking, canoeing, backpacking, camping, racquetball, folk and bluegrass music, genealogies, smoked and cured meats, cheese, beer, scotch, fossil hunting, NFL, woodworking, strategy board games, poison frogs in terraria, aquariums, container gardens
DNA Guru and Frog Whisperer
Cindy comes from the Windy City. She is a super senior studying zoology at SIU. Her academic interests include conservation biology, climate change, herpetology, and biodiversity. She has two positions in the Brown lab: animal caretaker and laboratory researcher. As the lab's animal caretaker, she takes pride in keeping the lab's pets in tip-top form. Cindy is also the lead researcher on a project studying landscape genetics of Neotropical amphibians. This project extracts DNA from tissue samples and uses PCR and target Sanger sequencing. She also enjoys skateboarding, board games, coffee, camping and, generally any activity that gets her outdoors.
Morgan is interested in phenotypic evolution, phylogenetics, and biogeography of vertebrates, with a strong interest in herps. She completed her undergraduate degree at Iowa State University, where she studied temperature-dependent sex determination and nesting phenology in painted turtles. She hopes to pursue a career in academia studying evolution, with additional foci on teaching and promoting diversity in science. As a masters student, Morgan is working on assembling a phylogeny of the Ranitomeya genus, the thumbnail poison frogs, and investigating phylogeographic relationships among its species.
Outside of the lab, Morgan enjoys spending time outdoors through hiking and herping. As a retired vocalist and pianist, she is also an avid fan of choral music and theatre. Her other hobbies include reading, writing, and long walks on the beach with her lizard.
NSF Biodiversity Fellow
NSF Biodiversity Fellow
Wilson is interested in the systematics, evolution, and biogeography of reptiles and amphibians. As a masters student, Wilson will be tackling the task of resolving a species-level phylogeny for the poison frog genus Ameerega using genomic data. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Arkansas where he studied incidences of horizontal gene transfer in diatoms, which began his interest in phylogenetics. He has also studied millipede morphology as well as carpenter bee phylogenetics using ultraconserved elements (UCEs).
Wilson enjoys reading, writing, and drawing in his spare time and also plays the drums. He hopes to pursue a career in academia studying animal evolution.
Jacob Fanis Undergraduate Researcher,
Jacob is a junior in the computer sciences program at SIU. Jacob has a distinction of never failing a coding challenge, Python, Java, Linux- he has your back. He currently is the lead programmer on an ambitious project that is translating SDMtoolbox, a lab software, from Python 2.7 to Python 3.0 for use in ArcGIS Pro. Jacob is also the lead programer on the lab's Tangible Landscape projects.
Reseacher, NSF Biodiversity Fellow
Future Leader of the World
Anna is sophomore studying zoology. She comes to the lab with interests in phylogenetics and evolution. Anna is the lead researcher on a project studying the molecular origins of color and pattern evolution Neotropical poison dart frogs. Anna extracts DNA from tissue samples and then uses PCR and targeted sequencing to understand how the genes underlying frog color and pattern diverge.
Katelyn is a senior studying both zoology, with a specialization in wildlife biology, and geography, with a specialization in GIS. Her interests include conservation, the effects of climate change on species’ distributions, and the relationship between people and nature. Over the summer of 2019, she was a GLOBE intern with The Nature Conservancy and was placed at their Emiquon Preserve where she worked with the public, assisted with surveys, and performed GIS analyses. She hopes to obtain a Master’s and a doctoral degree. She envisions working for a nonprofit in the conservation field; however, she’d never turn down the opportunity to be the Secretary of the Interior! She enjoys traveling, and on most of her trips, you will find her in a national park. Her goal to see every U.S. national park was achieved in the summer of 2016 when a little plane landed on the sand dunes of Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska as she made her final stop. Other interests include: hiking, fishing, white-water rafting, photography, snorkeling, and beginner level skiing.