Research projects

Professor Sean O'Donnell

 Lab members and collaborators


Postodoctoral researchers

Dr. Susan Bulova (PhD Wisconsin 1994) research associate


Dr. Sara DeLeon (PhD Cornell 2012) postdoctoral fellow


Dr. Nicole Dauphine Arcilla (PhD Univ. of Georgia 2008) will join the lab in September 2014 as a postdoctoral fellow


Current Ph.D. students 

Kaitlin Baudier (Drexel University- Biology) - Kailtin's thesis work focuses on the evolution of thermal physiology and ecology in Neotropical army ants, but she is also working on human safe insecticide discovery, the evolution of larval adhesion in ants, and the biology of local fungus-growing ants.


Kevin Purce (MS- CUNY City College) - Kevin will be joining the lab in fall 2014. He is interested in behavioral ecology of ants.



Current undergraduate researchers

Paulina Khodak, Skye Miller, Abigail Mudd, Elisabeth Sulger and James Warren


Collaborators from other departments and universities

Leticia Aviles, University of British Columbia - Spider brain evolution

Sam Beshers, Univ. of Illinois- Haploid susceptibility and the evolution of sociality

Susan Bulova- Simulation model of worker communication

Sarah Farris, West Virginia University- Evolution of brain development

Robin Foster, Univ. of Puget Sound- Bumble bee behavior

Jim Hunt, North Carolina State Univ.- Social wasp behavior

Dan Janzen, Univ. of Pennsylvania- Paper wasp biodiversity

Robert Jeanne, Univ. of Wisconsin- Social wasp behavior, ecology, and evolution

Theresa Jones, Univ. of Texas- Neural plasticity and behavior

Frank Joyce, Monteverde, Costa Rica- Social wasp ecology and evolution

Michael Kaspari, Univ. of Oklahoma- Ant community ecology

Daniel Kronauer, Harvard University - Ant population genetics

John Lattke, Univ. of Central Venezuela- Ant community ecology

Kerry Naish, UW Aquatic & Fishery Sciences - Army ant population genetics

Scott Powell, George Washington University- Ant community ecology

Josephine Rodriguez, Univ. of California- Paper wasp biodiversity


Former lab members

Graduate degrees

Anjali Kumar, PhD (Psychology- Animal Behavior) Summer 2008 - Behavioral ecology of army ants/Conservation biology

Yamile Molina, PhD (Psychology- Animal Behavior) Summer 2009 - Evolution of caste differences in brain structure in paper wasps

Adam Smith, PhD (Psychology- Animal Behavior) Summer 2005 - Evolution of social structure in tropical bees

Jason Stafstrom, MS (Psychology- Animal Behavior) Spring 2011 - Spider brain evolution


Former graduate researchers

Brain plasticity and brain evolution: Marie Clifford (Biology), Robin Harris (Neurobiology & Behavior rotation), Ben Land (Neurobiology & Behavior rotation)

Paper wasp behavioral ecology field research: Sara Ranger, Doug Wacker, Bill Wood

Termite caste development: Dan Markiewicz

 Avian behavioral ecology field research: Robert Driver


Former undergraduate researchers

Paper wasp biodiversity: Sean Tully (NSF-REU and Psychology honors)

Army ant population genetics: Cara Allen

Brain plasticity and evolution: Kayla Helem (UW Mary Gates Fellow) , Hans Kelstrup, Josh Matlock, Justin Neste (NSF-REU), Anna Pollock (Psychology Honors student), Andrea Repetto (NSF-REU and UW Mary Gates Fellow), John Salvo, Ceri Weber

Army ant ecology/behavior: Tessa Erickson, Elise Koncsek

Avian behavioral ecology: Emily Johnson

Bumble bee behavior: Amelia Brunskill (UW Mary Gates Fellow), Tina Gray, Mary Kotschwar (Univ. of Puget Sound), Janake Nathan (Univ. of Chicago), Monica Reichardt (UW Hughes Fellow), Linnaea Renz, Geoff Valentine, Dave Verdirame (Univ. of Puget Sound)

Genetic markers: Olivia Gelow, Tarn Adams, Katie Edwards, Kristin Haff, Alisa Hove (UC Davis), Amy Kasameyer (UC Davis), Meredith Klacking, Ana Kobayashi, Tina Stremick, Yoko Takahashi

Behavioral physiology: Natalie Bostwick, Mark Burns, Jen Gee, Melissa Nakanishi

Caloric restriction: Joel Greenwood

Paper wasp behavioral ecology: Nick Spang

Termite caste development: Chris Dalinkus