Past Members
Courtesy Faculty
Oswaldo Ramirez (Unidad de Biología Integrativa, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima – Perú): My main research goal focuses on both historical and present roles that have promoted biological diversification in the Andes. My research use principles of disciplines related with evolutionary biology such as phylogenetics, phylogeography, population genetics, conservation genetics and ecology. Although, I use Neotropical mammals as models, during the last few years my lab in UPCH have been involved in conservation genetics projects of economically important aquatic species such as freshwater shrimps, Amazonian fishes, trouts, and mussels.
Kevin C. Rowe (Curator of Mammals, Museum Victoria, Melbourne Australia)
Dorothee Huchon (Dept. of Zoology, Tel Aviv University, Israel)
Sheryl Soucy-Lubbel (Director, The Interdisciplinary Research Support (IRS) unit of the Office of Research, UC Davis)
Ph.D. Students
Jill Holliday (Lecturer, Dept. of Zoology, Univ. of Florida)

Jean Burns-Mouriuchi (lab member, not advisee; advised by Tom Miller): Currenly, Jean is Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Case Western Reserve University. She studies how phylogenetic history, dispersal ecology, and population demography determine community assembly, including biological invasions.

James C. Albright I am currently an Environmental Specialist working for the Watershed Assessment Section of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. We work to assess the biological and chemical health of the State's waters and to help improve those which are impaired through the (TMDL) Total Maximum Daily Load process.

Jim Cooper (MS 2000; Asst. Professor, Washington State University, Tri-Cities): My long-term goal is to be able to understand how changes in the genetic controls of morphogenesis have promoted adaptive radiations in the functional morphology of fish feeding. I use comparative techniques such as phylogenetics, morphometrics, biomechanics, and kinematics in order to identify morphological characters that have been of particular importance during trophic diversification, and once identified, these traits are then targeted for genetic and developmental investigation. My primary study groups are the marine damselfishes, the closely related freshwater cichlid fishes, and the experimentally tractable zebrafish, which serves as a useful model for understanding how genotypic changes are related to alterations in the phenotype of the vertebrate skull.

Master Students

Jenner Banbury
Brian Storz received a B.S. in evolution and ecology from the University of California, Davis, a M.S. and Ph.D. in biology from Florida State University. Currently he is an assistant professor of Biology at Centre College, Danville, KY researching muscle enlargement in cannibalistic spadefoot toad tadpoles. He is interested in understanding how the cannibals are turning on cell growth. Discovering how this cell growth is occurring, might help to apply this system to human health in order to combat a number of muscle-wasting diseases.

Analysa Gallegos Currently a Ph. D. student at University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
Young Scholars
Wesley Dailey (MD candidate, Florida State University)
Shawn Hamm I am currently in the Master's of Public Health program at FSU and the Regional Director for the non-profit CAMEO, the Caribbean American Medical Educational Organization, doing medical missions to the Caribbean.

Maria Sierra received a B.A. in Anthropology from Florida State University and a Ph.D. in Molecular Pathogenesis and Molecular Medicine from the University of Chicago. After receiving her Ph.D., she spent two years conducting hematopoietic stem cell research in the laboratory of Hanna Mikkola at UCLA. Maria is currently working at Cedar Associates LLC, in the San Francisco Bay Area, as a health economics and outcomes research analyst.
Chris Zawadski
Ann Mayumi Kawamoto

Lawren VandeVrede (MD/PhD candidate University of Illinois, Chicago)
Michael Reno (MD/PhD candidate, University of Illinois)
Daniel Richmond I am currently in my 3rd year in the Ph. D. program in Biomedical Sciences at the College of Medicine.  Here, I work in Dr. Yanchang Wang's laboratory studying cell cycle regulation (more specifically, kinetochore geometry) in the budding yeast and my project is quite promising. 
Shawn Havery
Christine Hongnopkhun
Marco Ramirez PCR and sequencing for muroid phylogenetics.
Maria Sardi Since graduating from FSU, I moved to California and started working at the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University.  My research group focuses on protein interactions in plants.   I work as a lab assistant, exercising many of the skills I first learned during my time at Steppan's lab.  I currently live in San Francisco with my husband and spend my spare time happily walking around the hills and looking at sea lions.
Young Scholars, 2009: Roni and Anna
Phloemys, the giant clod rat of the Philippines shown as an example of Stephanie's work
Stephanie Martin (Adjunct Professor, Austin Community College, Austin Texas): Master degree in ecomorphology, comparative dental morphology, functional morphology, mammalian evolution, and systematics. I am currently focused on the evolution of dietary adaptation in teeth of murine rodents.

Stephanie finished her Master's Degree in the Fall of 2010.

Tina Martin-Nims

Maria Wieselmann With a B.S. in biological sciences, I joined the Steppan lab to learn about molecular phylogenetics.  With the use of nuclear genes we are researching the evolutionary history of the group Sigmodontinae, a subfamily of the murid rodents.  Research at the lab focuses on the correlation of time with the rapid diversification that lineages of the group may have faced after they migrated to South America and occupied a previously unexploited habitat.

Ben Dowd I am an undergraduate majoring in Biology. I am currently researching the distribution of muroid rodents. The muroids occur on every continent except for Antarctica. To better understand how this linage has diversified into its current range, I am investigating how the distribution of the muriods correspond to phylogenetic trees.
Sherrie Moore I am a Junior majoring in Biology at FSU. I am interested in the medical field and hope to one day become a doctor. In the Steppan lab, I am working on the diversification of Muroid rodents. There is a lot of variation in body mass and Basal Metabolioc Rate (BMR) among Muroids. I find and record body masses and BMR's and I will examine how these characters have diversified throughout the evolutionary history of Muroids.
Rafael Robles (Depto. Biologia - FFCLRP Universidade de São Paulo, Brasil): My main research interests focuses on crustacean systematics and evolution, with emphasis on the use of molecular data to answer phylogenetic questions. As a postdoctoral associate in Scott Steppan’s lab at FSU, we worked on discovering the evolutionary family-tree of bivalves. Our research attempts to explain the evolution of two large families of bivalves, Cardiidae and Veneridae that include the cockles and giant clams, using both nuclear and mitochondrial genes.
Paula Valencia PCR and sequencing for muroid phylogenetics.
Nicole Cohen I am a recent graduate of Florida State University, with degrees in biological sciences and psychology. While performing undergraduate research in the Steppan Lab, my focus was on hypothesizing the diversification of Murinae by applying various molecular DNA techniques to determine their genetic diversity. I will be attending medical school in 2012.

Young Scholars, 2010: Chelsea, Connor, and Marianne
Lauren Washburn I am a senior undergraduate majoring in Biology.   I am currently working with two species of South American leaf-eared mice, Phyllotis darwini and Phyllotis xanthopygus.  My first goal is to determine which cranial traits can best differentiate the two species by measuring and analyzing various characteristics of the skull and lower jaw.  My second goal is to determine the heritability of those traits by analyzing the relationships between the distinguishing traits of the parents and their offspring.  This is to determine if the most distinguishing traits are inherited mostly by genetics or if there were other factors involved.
Patrick Millan I am an undergraduate majoring in Biological Science. Starting in Spring 2011, I began work collecting cranial morphometric data on the genus Phyllotis, a group of rodents endemic to western South America. I use the morphometric data generated to examine which cranial features best distinguish between two species of Phyllotis and to examine the heritability of traits from parent to offspring.
Young Scholars, 2011: Saskia and Caitlin
Young Scholars, 2012: Patrick and Whitney
Past Members