Congratulations, Jon on your A-exam!

In December, Jon passed his A-exam, so that particular hurdle is not hanging over any of the grad students in the lab anymore! We were able to have a nice celebration afterwards and, for a change, we actually identified exactly where the champagne cork hit the ceiling!

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Trivia Champs!

Nick, Ellen, Trevor, Ben, Karissa, Henry, Amanda and Jon won the Trivia Quiz at the 2018 EEB Holiday Party on Saturday 8 December.

(Jeremy is notably absent and helped drag another team into oblivion in terms of rankings.)

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Grant congratulations!

The Searle lab just got awarded a Center for Vertebrate Genomics seed grant for $14,400. This is for a project entitled “Transcriptomic analysis of mitonuclear epistasis in lungless salamanders” which Ben will be working on!


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Night at the Museum!

On the evening of Wednesday November 14, Nick gave a guest lecture to undergraduates at the ‘Night at the Museum’ at the Cornell University Museum of Vertebrates.


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Catch-Up For Undergrad Students


Jailene Hidalgo

Summer, 2016: studied moose and deer populations in the Adirondacks for Cornell’s Department of Natural Resources.

Summer, 2017: Studied marsh wren genetics and seaside sparrow populations at Florida’s state agency Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Summer, 2018: Studied arctic ground squirrel distribution and genetics in Denali National Park, Alaska.


Nikrumah Frazer

Summer, 2017: Awarded a Biology summer internship program (BioSIP) stipend to intern at a small animal veterinary clinic in Philadelphia. While there, he observed animal surgeries and assisted in animal care.

Summer, 2018: Took oral communications and cognitive sciences courses at Cornell and worked for Cornell Catering.


Anita Michalak

Summer, 2017: Worked as a wildlife assistant with BiodiversityWorks on Martha’s Vineyard, MA, helping with a variety of research projects involving bats, reptiles, and shorebirds.

Fall, 2017: Conducted her own research as a junior at Cornell, studying gray squirrel foraging behavior under Jeremy’s supervision in the mammalogy course. This project ultimately won the award for best undergraduate poster at the EEB Graduate Student Symposium.

Spring semester, 2018: Studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark. With a focus on Arctic biology, she had the opportunity to travel to both Sweden and Norway to conduct class-based field work. She ended her experience abroad with a three month internship at the Mammal Research Institute in Bialowieża, Poland. There, she further developed her experience working with bats, as well as a variety of other small mammals.

Currently: She is working on a senior research thesis on the genetic structure and origin of bobcats in New York State, under the supervision of the Therkildsen Lab.


Christopher Watson

Summer 2017: Ran long distance with high school friends and relaxed at home in Redmond, WA.

Summer, 2018: Studied philosophy and Francophone literature in Avignon, France. 


Avery Voehl

Summer, 2017: Worked as a camp counselor for the YMCA and was an aide in Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital’s surgical center.

Summer, 2018: Continued working as a camp counselor and transitioned to Ridgeview Hospital, where she was an aide in their Emergency Department and on different floors of their general hospital. Also worked at Ashery Lane Vineyard.


Graduated Students:

Jeremy Pustilnik

Tamar Law

Austin Wong


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Catch-Up For Grad Students



The Searle lab website has been dormant since summer 2017, and a lot has happened since then!


Jacob Tyrell

Spoke at Cornell Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Symposium, December 2017

Spoke at Cornell Evo Group, February 2018


Trevor Sless

Presented a poster at the American Genetic Association President’s Symposium, Toronto, March 2018

Was awarded an NSERC fellowship on “Evolutionary Genetics of Host-Parasite Relationships in Bees”, officially started in September 2018, for two years.


Henry Kunerth

 Presented a poster at the Evolution Meetings, Portland, June 2017

Won the Whittaker Award for best graduate student talk at Cornell University Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Graduate Student Symposium, December 2017

Attended the Cornell Center for Teaching Innovation University-wide GET SET teaching conference, March 2018

Spoke at EvoDay, May 2018


David Duneau, Haina Sun, Jonathan Revah, Keri San Miguel, Henry D. Kunerth, Ian V. Caldas, Philipp W. Messer, Jeffrey G. Scott, and Nicolas Buchon. (2018) “Signatures of insecticide selection in the genome of Drosophila melanogaster.” G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 8, 3469-3480.


Ben Johnson

Spoke at Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Rochester, July 2018


Jonathan Hughes

Presented a poster at the Population, Evolutionary and Quantitative Genetics Conference (Genetics Society of America), Madison, May 2018

Attended the Evolutionary Biology Workshop in Guarda, Switzerland, June 2018

Spoke at the 6th Symposium on Evolution and Biodiversity at Hokkaido University, July 2018

Presented a poster at the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution conference in Yokohama, July 2018


Frédéric Delsuc, Melanie Kuch, Gillian C. Gibb, Jonathan Hughes, Paul Szpak, John Southon, Jacob Enk, Ana T. Duggan, Henrik N. Poinar. (2018) “Resolving the phylogenetic position of Darwin’s extinct ground sloth (Mylodon darwinii) using mitogenomic and nuclear exon data.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B 285, 20180214.


Nick Fletcher

 Spoke at Ontario Ecology, Ethology and Evolution Colloquium, Kingston, May 2017

Presented a poster at the Evolution Meetings, Portland, June 2017

Spoke at the American Society for Mammalogists meeting, Manhattan, Kansas, July 2017

Spoke at Cornell Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Symposium, December 2017

Symposium organizer in North American Congress for Conservation Biology, Toronto, July 2018

Received the 2016-2017 Deanne Gebell Gitner ’66 and Family Annual Prize for Teaching Assistants


Nick Fletcher and Nicolas Lou


R. Nicolas Lou, Nicholas K. Fletcher, Aryn P. Wilder, David O. Conover, Nina O. Therkildsen, Jeremy B. Searle. (2018) “Full mitochondrial genome sequences reveal new insights about post-glacial expansion and regional phylogeographic structure in the Atlantic silverside (Menidia menidia).” Marine Biology 165, 124

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Incredible May & June!

Many congratulations to both Soraia and Marja during June on defending their PhDs so brilliantly! Both were wonderful occasions full of Portuguese and Finnish tradition!

Thank you to Chiara visiting from Italy during May and a return visit from Alex (Portugal/Costa Rica) during May and June. It was great to have you join us!

Also from Italy: Wonderful news from Marghe – her son Diego arrived at the beginning of May! We wish you all the very best!

Congratulations to undergraduate Jeremy for his REU working with Dr. John Maerz, a salamander biologist at the University of Georgia. Also for his paper in J Comp Physiol B.

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Spring Success

Congratulations to Jon for his Master’s degree from McMaster University, which sounds a bit like the famous Boaty McBoatface ( Seriously though, well done to Jon. Above a picture of him celebrating with a victory chalice!!

Congratulations also to Nick for the Gitner Prize ( for teaching – which is fantastic, a real credit for a lot of dedication!

Also well done to our lab members who have received grants for research: Mellons to Ben, Jacob and Jon, Orenstein to Nick and a Herpetological Society grant to Ben.


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