The Desai Lab


Michael Desai
Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and of Physics
mdesai [at]
Melinda Peterson
Administrative Assistant

Melinda keeps the lab running. You can find her at HUH 403, x68062.

mpeterson [at]
Alex Nguyen-Ba
Postdoctoral Fellow

Alex got his B.Sc. in Biology at the University of Toronto, and did his Ph.D. in Alan Moses' lab at the University of Toronto. He is interested in developing high-resolution and high-throughput techniques to observe evolution in real time and answer fundamental questions in quantitative genetics.

nnguyenba [at]
Angela Phillips
HHMI Hannah Gray Postdoctoral Fellow

Angela joined the Desai lab as a postdoctoral fellow in June 2018. She earned her Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry at MIT in Matthew Shoulders’s lab, where she applied chemical biology tools to profile the impact of host protein-folding factors on viral protein evolution. Angela is interested in the defining factors of fitness landscapes, particularly in the context of pathogen evolution.

aphillips [at]
Sudipta Tung
Postdoctoral Fellow

Sudipta did his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at IISER Pune, India, in Sutirth Dey’s lab, where he empirically studied several methods to stabilize extinction-prone populations and dispersal evolution using Drosophila as a model organism. Sudipta is currently interested in understanding the impact of different factors influencing evolutionary dynamics in budding yeast, particularly in the context of spatially structured populations.

sudiptatung [at] [website]
Thomas Dupic
Postdoctoral Fellow

Mark Margres
Hrdy Postdoctoral Fellow

Mark's research addresses fundamental questions related to adaptation dynamics in two co-evolving systems: (1) Tasmanian devils and devil facial tumor disease, and (2) venomous snakes and their prey. Mark’s cancer work focuses on the genetic basis of adaptation in Tasmanian devils in response to devil facial tumor disease, a species-specific transmissible cancer. His work on rattlesnake venoms explores how migration and selection interact to lead to local adaptation. Overall, Mark seeks to understand the relationship between genetic and phenotypic complexity and how this relationship can bias the process of adaptation.

mark_margres [at] [website]
Matthew Melissa
Graduate Student in Physics

Matthew received his B.S. in Engineering Physics from UC Berkeley in 2014. He joined the Desai Lab in October 2015, and is interested in using yeast surface display to characterize antibody-antigen binding affinities.

mjmel [at]
Milo Johnson
Graduate Student in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

Milo received his B.A. from Dartmouth College in 2014. He joined the Desai lab in 2015 and is using experimental evolution in budding yeast to characterize the pleiotropic effects of adaptive mutations across diverse environmental conditions.

milo.s.johnson.13 [at]
Christopher Bakerlee
Graduate Student in Molecules, Cells, and Organisms

Chris received an A.B. in Biology from Brown University in 2012. He joined the Desai lab in 2016, and he is using budding yeast to understand epistasis and the evolutionary dynamics of "selfish genetic elements" (e.g., retrotransposons).

baker03 [at]
Katherine Lawrence
Graduate Student in Physics (MIT)

Katherine received her B.S. in Physics from Yale University in 2014, and she joined the Desai lab in 2017. She is interested in high-resolution high-throughput experimental methods to characterize fitness landscapes, including mapping quantitative traits in diverse wild yeast crosses and measuring the binding affinity trajectories of influenza antibodies.

klawrenc [at]
Michael Miyagi
Graduate Student in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

Michael received his B.S. in Mathematics and Biology from UT Austin and joined the Desai lab in 2017. He is interested in developing methods to detect introgressed loci and infer recombination rate heterogeneity from sequence data, as well as applications of computational topology to population genetics.

michael.miyagi [at]
Artur Rego-Costa
Graduate Student in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

Artur first joined the lab on 2017 as an exchange M.S. student, and then as a Ph.D. student in 2018. He earned his B.S from the U. of Brasília, and joint M.S. from U. of Groningen and U. of Montpellier. He is currently using deep-sequencing data from experimentally evolved yeast populations to answers questions about predictability of evolutionary dynamics.

rego-costa [at] [website]
Shreyas Gopalkrishna
Graduate Student in Molecules, Cells, and Organisms

gopalakr.shreyas [at]
Alief Moulana
Graduate Student in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

amoulana [at]
Tanush Jagdish
Graduate Student in Systems, Synthetic, and Quantitative Biology

tanush [at]
Jiseon Min
Graduate Student in Molecules, Cells, and Organisms

Jiseon is broadly interested in developing mathematical models on living systems motivated by probability theory and statistical physics. She received her B.S. in Physics from Caltech in 2018 and joined the Desai lab in 2019. She is currently interested in understanding genetic diversity and temporal dynamics in different regimes.

jiseonmin [at]
Divvya Ramesh
Undergraduate Intern

dramesh [at]
Juhee Goyal
Undergraduate Researcher

Juhee is a sophomore at Harvard College. She is interested in exploring various fields of Bioengineering as well as Organismic and Evolutionary Biology through a joint concentration. Since Spring 2019, she has been analyzing changes in budding yeast populations after thousands of generations of evolution.

juheegoyal [at]

Lab Alumni

Michael J. McDonald
Assistant Professor, Monash University.

Sergey Kryazhimskiy
Assistant Professor, University of California San Diego.

J. David van Dyken
Assistant Professor, University of Miami.

Gabriel Perron
Assistant Professor, Bard College.

Lucy Colwell
Lecturer (Assistant Professor), Cambridge University.

Ivana Cvijovic
Lewis-Sigler Fellow, Princeton University.

Ramya Purkanti
Postdoc, Vastenhouw lab, Max-Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics.

Lauren Nicolaisen
Data Scientist, Khan Academy.

Benjamin H. Good
Assistant Professor, Stanford University.

Elizabeth R. Jerison
Postdoc, Quake Lab, Stanford University.

Evgeni M. Frenkel
Postdoc, Sabatini Lab, Whitehead Institute.

Katya Kosheleva
Bioinformatics Scientist, Invitae.

Daniel P. Rice
Postdoc, Novembre Lab, University of Chicago.

Jose I. Rojas Echenique
Postdoc, Boone Lab, University of Toronto.

Stephen Martis
Graduate Student, UC Berkeley.

Ian Ochs
Graduate Student, Princeton University.

Julian Kates-Harbeck

Parris Humphrey
Bioinformatics Scientist, Myriad Genetics