PrincipAL Investigator: Nick Keiser

622 Carr Hall

Department of Biology

University of Florida

Gainesville, FL 32611

Email: ckeiser [at] ufl [dot] edu

Twitter: @HiDrNic

Nick is a behavioral ecologist that studies infectious disease. He is a self-admitted study system collector (17 species so far!), with an inordinate love for invertebrates. He is also a mega-nerd, juggler-in-training, and loves heavy metal.

Postdoctoral researchers

Emily Durkin, PhD

Evolutionary Ecology of Symbioses

email: edurkin [at] ufl [dot] edu


Emily is fascinated by symbioses and why they evolve. She is particularly fond of parasitic relationships, especially from the perspective of the parasite. Emily completed her MSc. at Northern Michigan University studying chewing lice (Pthiraptera) of brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater). Her Ph.D. research was completed at the University of Alberta in Canada and explored the ecology and evolution of parasitism using a facultatively parasitic mite (Macrocheles muscaedomesticae) and fly host (Drosophila hydei), employing experimental evolution to select for increased attachment behavior in the mites and studying its associated costs and benefits. She is currently exploring parasite behavior and its role in the evolution of symbioses.

Allison Roth, PhD

Consequences of Animal Sociality

email: allisonroth [at] ufl [dot] edu

Allison is a behavioral ecologist who focuses primarily on questions related to sociality. Allison obtained her MA from Columbia University, studying between group encounters in blue monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis). Allison went on to complete a PhD at the University of Oxford where she explored the intersection between animal personality and sociality, using a dual study system of great tits (Parus major) and red junglefowl (Gallus gallus). She is currently exploring the prevalence and consequences of avian blood parasites in California quail (Callipepla californica) using social network analyses.

     Graduate students     

Steven Cassidy

email: stevencassidy [at] ufl [dot] edu

Steven is a PhD student interested in how behavior can influence species interactions. He completed his B.S. in Ecology and Evolution at the University of Pittsburgh studying plant ecology. As an undergrad, Steven studied mutualism disruption in understory plants, and then worked as a lab technician studying how herbivory impacts the evolution of the plant root microbiome. He has also worked with the African social spider Stegodyphus dumicola. He plans to study  how the nature of species interactions can covary with behavior and  diseases.

Elise Richardson

email: ear6296 [at] ufl [dot] edu

Elise is a master's student interested in behavioral disease ecology in insects and wildlife. She graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor's in wildlife ecology and conservation and a minor in entomology. She has worked with the CDC studying pesticide resistance in lone star ticks (Amblyomma americanum) on white tailed deer and in the Entomology and Nematology Department studying mosquitoes and biorational larvicides. She plans to study the role of behavior in the vector capacity of various necrophagous and hematophagous flies. 

Sam Shablin

email: samanthashablin [at] ufl [dot] edu

Sam is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow who received her B.S. in Ecology & Evolution and B.A. in History from the University of Pittsburgh. As an undergrad, Sam worked with the fungal pathogen Bd, and its interactions with glucocorticoids and frog behavior. During her PhD, she plans to study how an individual’s social behavior impacts their susceptibility to disease and how behavior may underlie both interspecific and intraspecific transmission, especially among more susceptible native species and more resistant invasive species. Outside of the lab, Sam enjoys scuba diving and taking her lizard for walks. Sam is co-advised by Dr. Ana Longo.

Brittney Jabot.jpg

Brittney Jabot

Yinlu Zhu.JPG

Yinlu Zhu

Alice Gau.jpg

Alice Gau


Sofia Valencia


Emily Stone

     undergraduate researchers     
     collaboration network     

Tim Colston, PhD

Affiliate Faculty Member, Department of Biology, University of Florida


Tim is a herpetologist by training, but his research integrates biogeography, evolutionary ecology, and host-microbiome interactions. Tim collaborates with the Keiser Lab on a project focusing on venom evolution and venom-associated microbiomes in social spiders.

Initiative for Venom Associated Microbes and Parasites (iVAMP)


Former undergraduates

  Emma Every

 Rice University

   Class of 2020

   Imani Butler

      Rice University

       Class of 2017

 Anu Dwarampudi

    Rice University

     Class of 2019

   Sara Geary

        West Virginia          

         School of   



       Evan Shegog

          Rice University

           Senior thesis


  Lizzy Sartain

      Rice University

       Senior thesis


 Taylor Shearer



 Michael Ziemba

   Univ. of Pittsburgh

      Class of 2018

Celina Tran

    Rice University

     Class of 2020

  Haley Uustal

      Rice University

       Class of 2018

 Krishna Kothamasu

     Univ. of Pittsburgh

       Class of 2018

  Alex DeMarco

    Eastern Tennessee

     State University

        M.S. Student

Tram-Anh Tran

Gloria Johnson

Arletys Leyva

Alex Piriz

Nick Dolezal

Joshua Vildor

Samantha Stein

Dylan Vega

Former visiting students

 Mathew Luksik

      University of Virginia

       Class of 2022 

Iclal Yuksel

  University of Houston

   Class of 2020