People:

Julia Saltz

Assistant Professor of BioSciences

I am interested in the genetics and evolution of behavior, especially within-population variation in behavior. Social behavior, in particular, represents an exciting opportunity to study developmental and evolutionary feedbacks because the social environment itself can change and evolve. Learning, our other main focus, represents a powerful and common mechanism by which animals change their behavior, but the evolution of learning is still poorly understood. These areas of focus illustrate how population-genetic variation is orchestrated by a complex interplay between genetic variation and experience in the environment. To answer these questions, I draw inspiration from, and work to integrate, animal behavior, psychology, evolutionary ecology, and genetics.

I completed my A.B. at Princeton University, my PhD with Andy Sih in the Population Biology Graduate Group at the University of California, Davis, and my postdoc with Sergey Nuzhdin at the University of Southern California.  My full CV is here.

I teach Animal Behavior (BIOS 321) and a variety of undergraduate research courses (BIOS 310, 401, NEUR 310, etc).  I participate in teaching in the Graduate Student Core Course (BIOS 569) and other graduate courses (BIOS 541, 561, 801).  I am a Faculty Affiliate for the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality (CSWGS) and a member of the School of Natural Sciences Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion leadership group.

Eric Wesley Wice

PhD Student

My research addresses how interactions between natural selection and social selection shape the structure and evolution of social groups. Integrating quantitative genetics, social network theory, nutritional geometry, and the genetic tools available with the Drosophila melanogaster study system, I seek to understand how ecological forces interact with social behaviors, to shape the social environment individuals experience. I received my B.S. from the University of Virginia in 2013, joined the Saltz Lab at Rice in 2015, and advanced to PhD candidacy in 2017.

Madeline Burns

PhD Student

My research focuses on how and why variation in learning exists between and within species - particularly how differences in individual environmental experience combine with differences in the neural mechanisms of memory and recall to produce variation in learning ability. Through comparison of the model organisms D. sechellia and D. simulans, I am seeking to increase understanding of the genetic basis of variation in learning - coupling learning assays with quantitative genetics approaches. I received my B.S. in Biology from Texas A&M in 2012 and worked in industry before joining the Saltz lab in 2016.

Marina Hutchins

PhD Student

My research primarily explores how individuals make decisions on how to with conspecifics. By using Drosophila melanogaster as a study system, I can incorporate genotypic variation into my investigation of how individuals interpret, produce, and use social signals to inform their own social behaviors, in addition to investigating the evolutionary feedbacks created by social information use on population-level processes. I received my B.S. in Biology with a minor in Genetics from Texas A&M University in 2018 before joining the Saltz Lab in 2019.

Amy Kuriakose

Undergraduate Researcher

Anja Hartge

Undergraduate Researcher

Anna Girardeau

Undergraduate Researcher

Anu Ayeni

Undergraduate Researcher

Arnav Amruth

Undergraduate Researcher

Corina Do

Undergraduate Researcher

Diana Alvarado

Undergraduate Researcher

Keshav Wagle

Undergraduate Researcher

Lilly Snellman

Undergraduate Researcher

Mae Wismar

Undergraduate Researcher

Omar Moussa Pasha

Undergraduate Researcher

Priya Trakru

Undergraduate Researcher

Sanjana Krishnan

Undergraduate Researcher

Tracey Dibbs

Undergraduate Researcher

Indigo (Indy) Saltz

Doggie

Research interests include sniffing, shedding an unbelievable amount, telling everyone her feelings, and being a Good Girl.

Adam Geiger

Former Lab Manager
Now works at Facebook.

Allison Jaffe

Former Undergraduate Researcher
Now doing post-baccalaureate research at NIMH

Anu Dwarumpudi

Former Undergraduate Researcher

Ben Johnson

Former Undergraduate Researcher
MS, Iowa State University. Now an instructor at Drake University

C. Nick Keiser

Former Postdoc
Now a tenure-track assistant professor at the University of Florida

Celina Tran

Former Undergraduate Researcher

Ceyda Kural

Former Undergraduate Researcher
Now a PhD student at the University of Kansas

Charlotte Hovland

Former Lab Manager
Now a Corps Member with the Avodah Jewish Service Corps

Ellie Dullea

Former Undergraduate Researcher

Emery Mintz

Former Undergraduate Researcher

Emma Every

Former Undergraduate Researcher
Now works in public health

Evan Shegog

Former Undergraduate Researcher

Francie Hessell

Former Undergraduate Researcher
Now an MD student at Baylor College of Medicine

Frederick Cavallaro

Former Undergraduate Researcher
Now a Research Associate by Nura Bio

Haley Uustal

Former Undergraduate Researcher

Madeleine O'Brian

Former Undergraduate Researcher

Madeline Adams

Former Undergraduate Researcher
Now a masters of public health student at Harvard

Ogechukwu Anwaegbu

Former Undergraduate Researcher
Now at Texas A&M University

Rachel Marren

Former Undergraduate Researcher
Now serving in AmeriCorps

Raleigh Anderson

Former Undergrad and Lab Manager
Now getting his MD at McGovern Medical School at UT Health

Samuel Gao

Former Undergraduate Researcher

Simone Maddox

Former Undergraduate Researcher
Now a PhD student at the University of Minnesota

Tracy Douglas

Former Postdoc
Now teaching at George Ranch High School

Have a question or interested in joining the Saltz Lab? Contact us today.

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