Andrew Whitehead (PI)

Andrew Whitehead is the lab PI, and a Professor in the Department of Environmental Toxicology.  Dr. Whitehead earned his B.Sc. from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, and his Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis (with Dr. Susan Anderson at Bodega Marine Lab).  He then went on to do post-doctoral research at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (with Dr. Douglas Crawford) , and was an Assistant then Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at LSU before moving to UC Davis in summer 2012.  Research interests include evolutionary and ecological functional genomics, population genomics, conservation genetics, stress physiology, and ecotoxicology.  He is a member of the Population Biology Graduate Group, the Graduate Group in Ecology (Chair of the Ecological Genomics and Genetics AOE), the Integrative Genetics and Genomics Graduate Group, and the Pharmacology and Toxicology Graduate Group.  He is a member of the UC Davis Center for Population Biology, and the Coastal and Marine Sciences Institute. Email:

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Jen Roach (Research Associate)

Jen Roach is a Research Associate in the Whitehead lab.  Jen earned her B. Sc. from University of California Davis and her M.Sc. from Colorado State University where she studied the genetic structure of black-tailed prairie dog metapopulations (with Dr. Mike Antolin and Dr. Bea Van Horne). She went on to work as a research associate and lab manager with Dr. Bernie May at UC Davis and then with Dr. Douglas Crawford at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. She has been working for Dr. Whitehead since August 2005. Her research interests include conservation genetics, population genetics, and evolutionary and ecological functional genomics.  Email:


Elias Oziolor (Postdoc)

Elias Oziolor (Personal Website, Google Scholar) is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab. Elias earned his Bachelor’s Degree from DePauw University with majors in Biology and Biochemistry. He went on to a Ph.D. at Baylor University with Dr. Cole Matson, where he explored the physiological and genetic outcomes of the evolution of resistance to industrial contaminants in Gulf killifish (Fundulus grandis) in Galveston Bay. He joined Dr. Whitehead’s lab in September 2017 with the goal of investigating the time-series of population genomic change in populations of Pacific herring that experienced a collapse following the Exxon-Valdez oil spill. Elias’ interests lie in the intersection between ecotoxicology, evolution and population genomics. He is interested in exploring shifts in physiological responsiveness in wild populations and understanding the impact and causes of those shifts using omic tools. In addition, he is interested in understanding the effects of genetic variability on toxicant responsiveness and how that relates to ecological risk assessments. Email:

Jeff Miller (Ph.D. student)

Jeff Miller (personal website) is a Ph.D. student in the Pharmacology and Toxicology Graduate Group.  He earned his bachelor’s in Ecology and Evolutionary biology from Minnesota State University-Moorhead under the direction of Dr. Brian Wisenden, investigating the behavioral responses of the central mudminnow (Umbra limi) to conspecific alarm cues.  He then earned his M.Sc. in the Saint Cloud State University Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory with Dr. Heiko Schoenfuss to study the impacts of estrogenic pharmaceutical contaminants in the environment and the endocrine system responses of river fish (fathead minnows Pimephales promelas).  Jeff began his Ph.D. work at LSU with Dr. Whitehead in the Fall of 2011, with an interest of learning to apply population genomics and transcriptomics to large scale ecotoxicology and evolutionary biology questions, and moved with the Whitehead lab to UC Davis during the summer of 2012.  Current projects: Determining 1. the physiological and ecological consequences of exposure to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill using the genomic responses of Fundulus grandis gill tissue and 2. the mechanism of heritable, extreme pollution tolerance of Fundulus heteroclitus by comparing embryonic genome responses of exposure to mechanistically-related compounds.  Email:

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Sara Boles (Ph.D. student)

Sara Boles (personal website) is a Ph.D. student in the Pharmacology and Toxicology Graduate Group. She earned her B.Sc. in Biology with a concentration in Marine Biology and Limnology from San Francisco State University (SFSU). Under the direction of Dr. Anne Todgham, Sara earned her M.Sc. in Biology with a concentration in Physiology and Behaviour in 2014 from SFSU with Distinction, where she investigated the effect of multiple climate change stressors on the physiological response of Olympia oysters (Ostrea lurida). Sara’s research interests span a variety of ecosystems (e.g. estuarine, rocky intertidal, and wetlands) and encompass a wide range of organisms (e.g. fishes and molluscs). Broadly speaking, she is interested in the underlying genomic features that shape a species’ physiological response to natural and anthropogenically-induced stressors across space and time. Sara is currently investigating the combined effects of ocean acidification (OA) and hypoxia during early developmental stages in red abalone (Haliotis rufescens) and describing the genomic variation associated with tolerance to these stressors. Sara is also assembling a robust reference transcriptome for red abalone as well as investing population genomics across the species wide range distribution. Email:


Jane Park (Ph.D. student)

Jane Park (Linkedin site) is a PhD student in the Integrative Genetics and Genomics Graduate Group. She graduated from Wellesley College with a B.A. in biology and a minor in music. Before joining the Whitehead Lab in 2014,  Jane was a lab manager at Stanford University, where she was involved in projects detecting evolutionary processes in Drosophila populations. Her dissertation now focuses on studying the role of transgenerational impacts and local adaptation in determining responses to developmental oil toxicity in wild killifish populations. She is broadly interested in integrating methods across transcriptomics, toxicology, and population genetics to investigate broader questions about the long-term consequences of oil spills and the biological processes underlying ecological responses to dramatic environmental changes. Email:


Lisa Johnson (Ph.D. student)

Lisa Johnson (personal website) is a Ph.D. student in the Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Physiology graduate group and is co-advised by Dr. C. Titus Brown in the Lab for Data Intensive Biology. Lisa is currently focused on developing  automated bioinformatics methods (available on github) for datasets from multiple species. Combining her diverse experiences and academic backgrounds, her research interests are in using comparative genomics and bioinformatics  tools towards understanding how diverse physiological adaptations have allowed organisms to respond to changes in their environments, with the goal of developing science-based resource management strategies and promoting sustainable coastal development. Prior to starting her PhD in 2015, Lisa worked at NYU Langone Medical Center’s Genome Technology  Center as a bioinformatics programmer. She was a lab manager at FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute for Joshua Voss and Sara Edge, overseeing molecular lab work quantifying sponge and coral/zooxanthellae gene expression responses to environmental stressors. Lisa served as a Peace Corps Volunteer with the Natural Resources Conservation and Development on Yap Island in Micronesia  from 2004-2006. Lisa has a B.S. in Biochemistry from Eckerd College, an M.S. in Biology from the University  of North Carolina at Wilmington with Steve Kinsey doing thesis research on crustacean  muscle physiology, and an M.S. in Environmental Resource Management from the Florida Institute of Technology while working at the Florida Department of  Environmental Protection as the Indian River Lagoon Shoreline Restoration Coordinator.  Email:

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Tony Gill (on bottom) (Ph.D. student)

Tony Gill is a Ph.D. student in Integrative Genetics and Genomics Graduate Group. He received his B.A. from Purdue University and an M.S. in Science-Medical Writing from Johns Hopkins University, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. He spent seven years as a molecular biologist generating transgenic zebrafish models to study mutations in leukemia in Dr. Peter Aplan’s laboratory at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda Maryland. He went on to work as a laboratory manager for Dr. Adam Leaché at the University of Washington in the development of sequencing technologies for comparative genomics. Before joining the Whitehead lab in 2017, Tony came from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle where he was introduced to environmental toxicology under the mentorship of Dr. John Incardona and Dr. Nathanial Sholtz. He is broadly interested in applying evolutionary functional genomics to questions in ecotoxicology. For his dissertation work Tony is integrating comparative genomics and physiology to determine the genetic mechanisms underlying the collapse and lack of recovery of Prince William Sound herring. Email: Twitter: @tonygill3


Natasha Mariano (Undergraduate student)

Natasha Mariano is an undergraduate student at the University of California Davis pursuing a degree in Genetics and Genomics. She is currently interested in the intersection between bioinformatics and genetics, and is considering pursuing a career in research. While in the Whitehead lab, her goal is, on various projects, to develop her proficiency and experience in design of experiments, molecular biology techniques, and data analysis. In the Whitehead lab, Natasha works with grad students, postdocs, and research staff doing research in the fields of environmental toxicology and environmental genomics. Email:




Haley Hudson (Undergraduate student)

Haley Hudson is an undergraduate student in the college of Biological Sciences at the University of California, Davis. She is working toward a degree in Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity and potentially a career in research. She is interested in conservation genetics, ecotoxicology, and population genetics specifically in relation to the environmental impacts of human activities. Since joining the Whitehead lab in 2017, she has been working to develop practical skills in molecular biology, data analysis, and experimental design. Haley is working with the graduate students and postdocs on projects involving the effects of stressors such as oil or changes in salinity on fish. Email:



Picasso Vasquez (Undergraduate student)

Picasso Vasquez is an undergraduate student majoring in Biological Sciences. Before coming to UC Davis, Picasso interned at Joe Shaw’s Lab at Indiana University where he cultured Daphnia and helped with wet lab work. In the summer of 2017, Picasso participated in the Data Intensive Biology Summer Institute at UC Davis where he learned about next-generation sequencing and spiked his interest in bioinformatics. In the Whitehead lab, Picasso is working towards advancing his knowledge on various topics such as genetics, genomics, toxicology, and data analysis as well as experiencing what a career in research may include. Picasso works alongside the graduate students, lab manager, and post-doc on their various projects such as stress tolerance and epigenetics. Email:




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