Lab News

Congrats to Kasey Kiesewetter for being awarded the NSF GRFP!

We’re so proud of all that you have accomplished; it is SO great to have you in the lab. Can’t wait to see your research make an impact on management of species interactions in imperiled South Florida Pine Rocklands. (4/3/18)


Congrats to Aaron David on his new position at the USDA! We miss you, but well done. Great job with all the Florida Scrub research!! (4/2/18)


Florida Rosemary Scrub is an imperiled ecosystem with only 15% of this habitat remaining!

Congrats to Kasey Kiesewetter for receiving the Dean’s Summer Research Award! (3/18)


Sathvik’s paper in Molecular Ecology‘s special issue on “The Host-Associated Microbiome is out! Check it out here! (3/14/18)


Afkhami and Wilson labs have started joint lunches!

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Afkhami lab headed outside to eat lunch, enjoy the beautiful Feb day, and talk science with Wilson lab.

Aaron and Khum’s paper in Ecology is out! Check it out here!


Michelle’s legume paper in Ecology is out! Check it out here!

Blessing, Kailani, and Damian working in the lab!

Celebrating Sathvik’s Birthday …

Getting ready for thanksgivings!

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Our hand turkeys!


Michelle gives a plenary talk at the Bionomic Workshop at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön, Germany (

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Undergraduate Researcher and UM-Miami-Dade College Bridge Program Student, Leydiana Otano, presented at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in Phoenix, AZ!

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Brianna and Michelle attend McKnight Reception to honor Brianna and the other McKnight fellows!

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Michelle (left) and Brianna (right) at reception.


Aaron David’s awesome paper came out in Molecular Ecology!

His paper, entitled “Disentangling environmental and host sources of fungal endophyte communities in an experimental beachgrass study” is available at here.


Damian Hernandez’s transcriptomic paper published in Nature Communications!

Damian’s co-first author paper, entitled “Transcriptomes and neurotransmitter profiles of classes of gustatory and somatosensory neurons in the geniculate ganglion, is available here.


This paper from Damian’s work as a technician in Dr. Chaudhari’s lab uses transcriptomic and functional profiling of individual neurons in the geniculate ganglion. These neurons consist of two sets: one set innervating the pinna of the outer ear and another set is part of the first neural relay in transmitting info about taste perception.


Undergraduate Sathvik Palakurty selected for Stanford University’s Summer Research Program as a Genetics Scholar!

Poster session

Sathvik presents on his Stanford summer project which uses natural genetic variation in yeast to model interactors with Alzheimer’s disease proteins. Now he’s back working on molecular basis of tripartite mutualisms!


Kasey Kiesewetter awarded the Envoy Grant for research on effects of fragmentation on species interactions of the imperiled Pine Rocklands!


Pictures of the Pine Rocklands habitat (1) and of herbivore damage on Pine Rockland plants (2-5). (2) Leaf miner insect damage on Morning Glory. (3) Coontie damaged by Atala butterfly caterpillars. (4) West Indian-lilac. (5) Buttonsage. Picture credit: Afkhami lab graduate student, Kasey Kiesewetter.

Check out Brianna Almeida’s undergraduate honors thesis on Everglades’s white lilies here!



Her thesis, “Comparison of Navel and Laminar Stomata Morphology and Stomatal Conductance in the White Water Lily, Nymphaea odorata (Nymphaeaceae)”, was completed at part of the FIU Honor Biology program, QUBIC, with Dr. Jennifer Richards.