We're a motley crew that share a love for science, nature and having fun! 

Jason L. Brown
Primary Investigator
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​BreAnn Geralds, MSc
Doctoral Student
Master of behavior and Bioinformatics Ninja

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

Cindy Trujillo
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.

BreAnn is broadly interested in research regarding dendrobatid life histories, including how behavior, genetic, and environmental factors lead to speciation events. She is an alumnus of SIU after attaining her undergraduate degree in zoology with a focus on herpetology and conservation. She then obtained her master’s degree from East Carolina University working with Dr. Kyle Summers identifying differentially expressed genes in the brains of begging Ranitomeya imitator and Ranitomeya variabilis tadpoles to pinpoint the mechanisms underlying the evolution of begging behavior and parent-offspring interactions. Her love of dendrobatids and her master’s lab brought her back to SIU to work with Dr. Jason Brown investigating speciation mechanisms in Ameerega poison frogs.

When not obsessing over frogs, BreAnn loves hiking or anything outdoors, crafting just about everything, playing DnD, reading, writing, pinning insects, watching football, and caring for her mini zoo of herps.

Anna Bartolomucci
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.