Joel Atallah

joelMy primary goal has always been to understand the origin of natural diversity at a mechanistic level. In the Kopp lab, I analyzed recently evolved morphological novelties, including Drosophila sex combs and the D. suzukii ovipositor. Currently, I’m an assistant professor at the University of New Orleans. I’m looking for graduate students interested in comparative genomics, evolutionary developmental biology and the role of transposable elements in evolution.

Angus Chandler

atcomp-w-silasAs a graduate student in the Kopp Lab, I characterized the microbes associated with natural populations of diverse species of Drosophila. I then did a two-year postdoc with Shannon Bennett at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, where I used shotgun metagenomic sequencing for virus discovery in mosquitoes. I am currently an NIH NRSA postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley working with Will Ludington and Mike Eisen. My research investigates the relationship between animals, their microbiome, and diet using the Drosophila model system to ask how microbes shape resistance to environmental toxins, in this case ingested ethanol. More information at

Chen Siang “Gene” Ng

Assistant Professor, Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology & Department of Life Science, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan

I focus primarily on the development and evolution of avian traits, combining approaches and tools in comparative genomics, developmental biology, and molecular genetics to understand the basis of feather variation and the evolution of the morphological, behavioral, and physiological diversity of domesticated birds.

David Plachetzki

plachetzkiHow does evolution proceed from common starting points and go on to generate the amazing display of biodiversity we see today? The evolutionary origins of novel and complex forms has puzzled biologists since before Darwin’s time and persists as one of the central questions in evolutionary biology. Research in my lab at UNH seeks shed light on this question using the origins and evolution of the animal sensory systems as a model. Our approach integrates genomics and phylogenetics with wet lab and behavioral experiments. We are most interested in the sensory systems of Cnidaria, which are the evolutionary sister to bilaterians, and in those of other taxa that occupy key positions in the animal tree of life.

Ondrej Podlaha 

ondrejI am a Research Scientist in the Bioinformatics group at Gilead Sciences. In my role, I lead any genomics related work for phase I/II/III clinical trials in the liver disease area and perform genomics research with a focus on hepatitis B. Aside from clinical trials, I collaborate across medicinal chemistry and biology groups to design genomics studies addressing key questions to various liver disease programs and evaluate new genomics technologies.

Sarah Signor

I am primarily interested in the genetic basis of phenotypic variation, be that for complex traits like behavior or simple phenotypes such as pigmentation. As a graduate student in the Kopp lab I investigated the genetic basis of convergent evolution in male-specific pigmentation in several species of Drosophila. I am currently a postdoc in the lab of Sergey Nuzhdin, where I am working to combine high through-put evaluation of complex behaviors in Drosophila with analysis of dynamic changes in gene expression and alternative splicing.

Kohtaro Tanaka


In the Kopp lab, I compared the morphogenesis of sex combs and the spatial regulation of Doublesex in different Drosophila species. Currently, I am a postdoctoral fellow at Gulbenkian Science Institute in Lisbon.  I am investigating cis-regulatory mechanisms underlying the expression divergence of gene duplicates in Drosophila species.