Principal Investigator

Nandita Garud

Nandita is an assistant professor in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department at UCLA, a Paul Allen Distinguished Investigator, and NSF CAREER recipient. She is interested in understanding how natural populations evolve, with a focus on the human gut microbiome and Drosophila melanogaster.

CV, Google Scholar

Email: ngarud at ucla dot edu

Graduate Students

Leah Briscoe

Leah Briscoe

Leah is an NSF GRFP PhD student in the Bioinformatics IDP working on statistical methods for the analysis of population level microbiome data. She completed her BS at UCLA in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology with a minor in Bioinformatics. She is fascinated by the ways in which microbial communities aid and adapt to hosts, and how this community transforms through time.

Mariana Harris

Mariana Harris is a Biomathematics PhD student working on statistical methods to detect selection. Mariana completed her B.S. in Applied Mathematics at Instituto Técnologico Autónomo de México (ITAM). She is interested in developing mathematical and statistical models that shed light on how populations adapt and interact.

Ricky Wolff

Ricky Wolff is a PhD student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department. He is working on developing statistical methods to understand natural selection in the gut microbiome. Before coming to UCLA, he completed his B.A. in mathematics at Columbia, working in cancer genomics after graduation. In his free time, he enjoys playing guitar and camping.

Jon Mah

Jonathan Mah is a PhD student in the Bioinformatics Interdepartmental Program. Jon graduated from the University of Washington with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Microbiology, where he studied quantitative models for protein evolution in RNA viruses. His research interests lie at the intersection of population genetics, mathematical evolution, and microbiology.

Michael Wasney

Michael is a Human Genetics PhD student. He is interested in understanding the ecological and evolutionary forces governing strain colonization dynamics. He recently completed his undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago in Biology and English.

Aina Martinez Zurita

Aina is a PhD student in Human Genetics. She is interested in understanding how repeatable and rapid evolution is in the human gut microbiome. She recently graduated with a B.S. from MIT and worked at the Broad Institute prior to joining us at UCLA.

Peter Laurin

Peter Laurin is a PhD student in Ecology and Evolution and is interested in population genetics and microbial evolution. He graduated with a BS in Ecology and Evolution and an MS in Statistics from the University of Chicago, where he worked on pathogen evolution and the development of genome-wide association statistics in the laboratory of Joy Bergelson. He is interested in how bacteria adapt to live in microbial communities and transmit between hosts, and how selective pressures in the microbiome can exert an influence on microbial life history.

Undergraduate Researchers

Daisy Chen

Daisy Chen

Daisy recently graduated from UCLA with majors in Computer Science and Computational and Systems Biology. She is currently a PhD student at UCSD. She is broadly interested in the use of big data to understand complex biological systems. She recently published a paper on the evolutionary dynamics of the infant gut microbiome in Genome Research.

Rahul Natarajan

Rahul Natarajan

Rahul Natarajan is an MS student at Columbia in Computer Science. He recently completed his B.S. at UCLA in Mathematics and Computer Science. He is interested in leveraging big data and various computational methods to improve healthcare systems. In his free time, Rahul enjoys playing and watching soccer.

Nada AbouHaiba

Nada AbouHaiba
Nada is a medical student at the Mayo Clinic and recent graduate from UCLA where she majored in Biology and minored in Global Health. She is originally from Moorpark, California. In her free time, she likes to read, try new foods, and spend time with friends and family.

Henry Krasner

Henry Krasner
Henry Krasner is a medical student at the University of Nevada and recent UCLA grad where he majored in Physiological Science. He is interested in exploring the various interactions happening in the human microbiome and the evolution of these systems over time.

Former Lab Members

William Shoemaker (NSF postdoctoral fellow)
Sarah Bald (BIG undergraduate summer student and honors thesis student)
Anna McDonald (BIG undergraduate summer student)
Kevin Delao (BIG undergraduate summer student)
Maya Singh (BIG undergraduate summer student)
Helen Huang (Rotation student from Bioinformatics)
Nicole Zeltser (Rotation student from Human Genetics)
Albert Xue (Rotation student from Bioinformatics)
Etan Dieppa (BS in Microbiology and General (Human) Biology from the University of Puerto Rico )
Shavonna Jackson (BS in Integrative Biology with a minor in Computer Science at Harvard College)
Sara Thornburgh (BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Sara Makanani (MS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Katherine Zhang (HS student from the Harker School in San Jose)