Lab Members

Mariah Meek – Principal Investigator

mariah and salmonidI am a conservation biologist and molecular ecologist, interested in understanding the ecological and evolutionary processes that generate and maintain diversity within and among populations. The primary motivation for my work is to apply this fundamental understanding of biology to solve pressing problems in conservation and management.

Outreach: Dr. Meek is a member of the IUCN North American Conservation Genetics Specialist Group, Vice President of the Society for Conservation Biology Conservation Genetics Working Group, and a member of the Interagency Ecological Program Salmonid Genetics Project Work Team.

Dr. Meek is on the editorial board of Conservation Science and Practice.

Teaching at MSU:

  • IBIO 341 Fundamentals of Genetics
  • IBIO 801 Professional Development for Graduate Students

Mariah Meek CV 2018 –   Google Scholar Profile

Email: mhmeek[at]          Twitter: @mhmeek

Nadya Mamoozadeh – Post-doctoral Fellow


My research focuses on the use of genetic tools to study population- and species-level relationships in marine and freshwater fishes. The primary motivation for this work is to improve our understanding of evolutionary processes in aquatic environments, and to provide practical information for management and conservation. Find out more about my work on my website.

Email: mamooz [at]


Charlene Tarsa – Lab Technician


I am interested in conservation biology and the effects of climate change on populations. I completed my M.A. in Biology at Buffalo State College studying the metagenomic diversity of fungal communities in and outside of ant nests, and I am excited to study conservation genomics and diversity in the Meek lab.

Sara Hugentobler – PhD Student


My research interests center around the population dynamics and genetics of aquatic species, as well as overall species diversity in aquatic environments. Specifically, I am interested in the mechanisms of population divergence and the barriers to gene flow. I am primarily concerned with how these patterns and processes are relevant for conservation and management.



Miranda Wade – PhD Student

Miranda Wade

I study conservation genetics and am interested in small population conservation. My research centers around discovering impacts on populations from fragmentation, especially due to anthropogenic change. I hope to use my research to help inform future management actions and to create public outreach programs.




Sierra Kaszubinski – MS Student

SFK Lab PhotoI am an Integrative Biology master’s student at Michigan State University. I recently graduated from the University of Arizona, receiving a B.S. in Organismal Biology. While at the University of Arizona, I was involved in several projects working with human and plant pathogens, and was president of the Criminal Justice Association. I am a Department of Defense SMART Scholar, and will work for the U.S. Army Defense Forensic Science Center upon graduation. I am interested in the next generation sequencing applications to forensic science.

Sierra is co-advised by Dr. Benbow in the Department of Entomology:

Do not hesitate to contact Sierra with any questions: kaszubin[at]

Torél Beard – Undergraduate Researcher



I’m a senior undergraduate at Michigan State University, majoring in zoology with a concentration in ecology, evolution, and organismal biology. My research interests are in the genetics and evolution of behavior, and my goal is to attend graduate school to pursue a PhD in evolutionary biology.




Kyle Jaynes – PhD student


I am currently a PhD student in Sarah Fitzpatrick’s Lab in the department of Integrative Biology and interdisciplinary program of Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior at Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University. I am a biologist driven by questions linking ecology, evolutionary biology, and conservation biology – and most fascinated with amphibians and reptiles. Explore my website for more info:

Ellery – Budding Ecologist


Ellery studies the diversity of tastes in her environment and is on a quest to identify the most crinkly material in the world. She is also researching the ecology and behavior of the Giant Schnauzer.



Chai – Lab Mascot


Chai’s research interests are in the behavioral ecology of small mammals, with a particular focus on trying to understand the adaptations that allow squirrels to successfully avoid canine predation.