The Houligans

David Houle

As you know, he does research. He enjoys living in Tallahassee, where you can get out of town quickly, and still find lots of good natural habitiat. His mental escapes from all this include gardening, board games, birding and bicycling. Want to know why I left the University of Toronto? Click here.

Luke Jones

Luke received a B.S. in Biological Science from Florida State University in 2011. His love of flies lured him back to Florida State in 2015 as a Ph.D. student. His interests continue to narrow, centering on questions of how development and evolution interact to create phenotypes, parallel evolution at the genetic level, and the predicability of genetic change. He is also passionate about honing his statistical and programming knowledge to better analyze data. He is currently undertaking a selection experiment using the species Drosophila simulans. In his free time he enjoys going out to eat, taking pictures, and just relaxing.

Jacqueline Sztepanacz

Jacqueline completed her PhD in 2016 at the University of Queensland in Australia, where she studied the evolution of genetic variation in the Australian fruit fly Drosophila serrata. As a post-doc in the Houle lab she is now studying pleiotropy, the phenomenon where individual mutations have effects on more than one trait. Despite the importance of pleiotropy in evolution, we have a pretty poor empirical understanding of it. Her current work is mostly focused on developing statistical approaches to estimate patterns of pleiotropic effects using data from genome wide association studies. She is also interested in how genetic covariances between males and females might constrain evolution in general and the evolution of sexual dimorphism. You can check out her publications here.

Ryan Fortune

Ryan Fortune is a Florida State graduate who is currently taking a hiatus from further schooling to obtain valuable research experience in the Houle lab. Ryan is interested in genetics and evolutionary biology and will be studying behavioral genomics in graduate school at Iowa State University (Go Cyclones!). When he's not working, Ryan likes to spend time with his beautiful dog, Hamilton.

Undergraduate Assistants

Kevin Doheny

Kevin is a senior in his last semester at FSU where he is studying Biology and Statistics. He has a special interest in Evolutionary Biology and more specially Molecular Evolution and the forces shaping it. He hopes to pursue his PhD after graduation and is currently applying to graduate programs. When not taking care of flies or coding in R he likes to lift weight and compete in powerlifting competitions. He also likes cold weather and mountains, so he wonders why he is still in Tallahassee.

Connor Murray

Connor is a graduating senior biological science student. He has been doing independent research in the lab for a year analyzing interspective relationships between the wings and legs in Drosophila. He is pursuing his passion for research by attending graduate school at the University of Virginia in Fall 2019. He will explore topics pertaining to quantitative genetics and evolutionary medicine. He loves to travel and explore.

Michael Vazquez

Michael is a pre-med student excited to use this lab experience to expand his knowledge which can then be used in the ever developing field of personalized medicine. He is happy to finally put his hobby of taking thousands of pictures of fruit flies to good use.

Jade Chery

Jade Chery is currently a Junior at FSU. She hopes to find her main passion within the vast field of genetics, focusing on epigenetics. While still learning the ropes and gaining vast knowledge of D. melanogaster, Jade likes to indulge in harmless roasting and teasing. Her main weapon of choice is scrunching up her face and sucking her teeth. While everyone else fights to the death to become "the fastest imager in the lab," Jade focuses on sitting back and enjoying the show.

Aaron Deese

Aaron is a junior and an exercise science major. He hopes to attend optometry school starting in the fall of 2020. He was hired in the summer of 2018 and is excited to continue learning more about Drosophila melanogaster. When Aaron is not in the lab he can be seen scooting around Tallahassee, studying in Dirac, or hanging out with friends at one of the local watering holes.

Allie Weatherwax

Allie is currently a junior at FSU pursuing a degree in Biology. She hopes to one day attend grad school to further her education, possibly in genetics but she still changes her mind weekly. Outside of the lab, Allie likes to be around her friends and go on adventures, when she's not stressing about all the work she's procrastinating. Allie is now focusing her attention on an honors thesis, working closely with Connor and learning more about some of the various Drosophila species.

Stephanie Zech

Stephanie is a junior Biological Science major and a recnt addition to the Houle lab after volunteering in the previous semester. She enjoys working in the lab and gaining useful research experience. She has passions in genetics and molecular biology and plans to pursue reseach after graduation. Stephanie manages the stress of classes by being active outside and exploring Tallahassee. She has an eternal love for her pet cat, who does not love her back.

Michaella Saint-Juste

Michaella is currently a junior at Florida State as a biochemistry major. She recently joined the Houle lab after volunteering last semester. Her love for biology peaked her interest in genetics and she hopes to narrow down her interest. In her free time Michaella loves to eat, hang out with friends and family, and make conspiracy theories about NEtflix series. Michaella hopes to one day get her masters in some type of biology and work as a scientist that helps in the treatment of patients with immune disorders.

Past Houligans

Bobby Baizack

Suhavi Kaur

Maximilian Fisher

Michael Fears

Cassidy Robinson

Taylor Tischhauser

Caitlin Marquis

Jason Cassara

David Aponte

Brad Steiner

Victoria Smethurst

Alex Jasman

Joanne Salina

Alexis Matamoro Vidal

Eladio Marquez

Rosa Moscarella

Brian Hollis

Janna Fierst

Jessica Nye

Don Griffin


  • Maurizio Tomaiuolo is a mathematical modeler who received his Ph.D. with myself and Thomas Hansen. He now works at the Biotechnology High-Performance Computing Software Applications Institute in Maryland. E-mail: mauriziotml at

  • Kim van der Linde worked on fly wings and a phylogeny of the Drosophilidae in the lab.  She now works in the Floirda Department of Health as an epidemiologist. E-mail:

  • Chad Evers is ex-lab manager, who worked his way up from boyfriend. He departed to get his Master's degree at UCSF, and is now monitoring aquaculture in south Florida for the DEP.  

  • Ashley Carter was a post-doctoral researcher in the lab. He selected on wing shape in flies. He is now an assistant professor at Cal State Long Beach.

  • Fiona Hollis successfully moved through all the undergrad roles in the lab, got her Ph.D. with Mahmmad Kabbaj in the College of Medicine, and is now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Lausanne.  She and Brian Hollis met over flies and are now the proud parents of Samantha and Aaron.  

  • Becky Fuller received her Ph.D. at FSU with Joe Travis Her major work is on the coevolution of the sensory system and mating display in fish. She is now a professor at the University of Illinois.

  • Jeff Birdsley worked as a technician in the lab, and was responsible for keeping fly bodies and souls together. Jeff is really an avian phylogenetic systematist, but made himself into a Dipterist.

  • Jason Mezey  was a post-doc in the lab, immersed in multidimensional geometry, and is now a professor at Cornell . E-mail: Website:

  • Paul Galpern   received his Master's degree in the lab at Toronto.  He was briefly seduced by the beauty of the fly wing - its  appearance enhanced by colored lines, its voluptuous shape, its principal warps. Paul is now a professor of landscape genetics at the University of Calgary 

  • Becca Hale was our R programmer for a while.   She is now an assistant professor at UNC Asheville.

  • Art Poon is our artist (Art's art ), and worked in the lab as an undergraduate. He got a Master's degree in population genetics with Sally Otto, and a Ph.D. with Lin Chao on beneficial mutation rate. 

  • Bob Morikawa has retired from the lab after round III with the flies. He remains undefeated. Bob has an M.S. in forestry from Michigan State, and, between rounds, is putting this expertise to excellent use in Tanzania, rural Haiti, and with Toronto parks. Bob enjoys planting trees, hackey sack, and counting sternopleural bristles.

  • Stephanie Weinstein has seen fruit flies on four continents. She was the delicate hand behind the evolution in a bottle experiments and got a Master's degree in conservation biology at the University of Florida.