People

Daniel S. Jones, PhD

Assistant Professor

"I studied Botany at the University of Oklahoma, receiving my B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. there. During my graduate work I became fascinated by sexual reproduction in flowering plants. I studied gamete biology in rice during my master's (with Dr. Scott Russell) and cell-cell communication pathways regulating the final stages of sperm cell delivery, a process called pollen tube reception, in Arabidopsis during my Ph.D. (with Dr. Sharon Kessler). I then joined Dr. Zack Nimchuk's lab at The University of North Carolina where I was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow funded through the Plant Genome Research Project (PGRP). At UNC, I worked on stem cell signaling during reproductive development in both Arabidopsis and sunflower. This work led to my broad interest in understanding how conserved cell signaling pathways have been modified during evolution to regulate development of distinct inflorescence morphologies."


Plant Developmental Biologist | Husband and Dad | Baseball fan (Chicago Cubs) | Oklahoman (Okie) | loves all things plant


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Reid Selby

Research Assistant

“I found my passion for plants at the University of Oklahoma where I received my B.S. in Plant Biology. My first research position focused on light signaling in early plant development using Arabidopsis. Through studying plants, I’ve developed an appreciation for all forms of life and the ways in which they evolve. I even briefly worked in a diabetes lab culturing primary human hepatocytes to study the effects of trauma on the liver. However, plants remain the most fascinating to me. The diversity in Asteraceae capitula is a wonderful example of evolutionary variations on a theme.”


Biology Research Assistant | Rock Climber | Hiking and Camping Enthusiast | Planted Aquarium Nerd | House Plant Fanatic


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Brannan Cliver

Graduate Student

I graduated from Auburn University with my B.S. in Conservation Biology. Before that I thought that I wanted to study veterinary medicine, and while I love animals, studying plants has become a much greater passion of mine. During undergrad I worked in Dr. Aaron Rashotte’s lab studying Cytokinin Response Factors in Arabidopsis as well as briefly looking at Live Oak senescence. I have realized that part of why I love research so much is being able to apply what I learn to the conservation of different plant species. I am so excited to learn even more about Asteraceae!


Master’s Student | Hiker and Kayaker | Very Amateur at both Yoga and Roller skating | Outdoor Lover | Carpenter with Assistance (so I can make more plant shelves)


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Guillian Hernández Casanova

Graduate Student

"I graduated from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez where I majored in Industrial Biotechnology and completed both a minor in Plant biosecurity and a certification in Biochemistry. During my undergrad I was introduced to the world of molecular biology, specifically working with DNA barcoding of the Lotus genus and was then when I started to gain interest in plants as research organisms. I love working with molecular approaches to plants as I believe it to be both an exciting and constantly evolving field. My interests in research are understanding and manipulating plants in a way that help increase their productivity and demand on current applications and is why I intend on gaining more knowledge on the Asteraceae family during my time at the capitulab while contributing to the lab’s currents goals."

Bbq aficionado| Schnauzer Dad | Amateur house gardener | Travel enthusiast


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Erika Lesperance

Undergraduate Student

"I am a junior at Auburn University, majoring in biomedical sciences with a minor in anthropology. I have loved plants and sunflowers for as long as I can remember, and have developed a passion for genetics during my college education, so I am extremely fortunate to be able to work alongside so many intelligent individuals in the lab, learn from them, and learn more about plants! This is the first research lab I have worked in, and I am excited to see where this takes me!"

Undergraduate Research Assistant | Plant mom | Yoga Aficionado | Optimist | Cincinnatian

Riley Schuld

Undergraduate Student

"I am a Junior at Auburn University majoring in Biomedical Sciences with a concentration in Pre-Medicine and a Spanish foreign language minor. I originally became interested in the Capitulab due to its connection with sunflowers and genetics. Genetics has been my favorite subject during my time at Auburn, and I have always been attracted to the symbolic happiness of sunflowers! This lab combines the two and has excited me for the semester to come. It is my first semester in a biology research lab, and I am excited to learn all I can about plants and genetics from the Capitulab project!"

Undergraduate Research Assistant | Amateur Painter | Hockey Fan (Chicago Blackhawks)