Lab members

Joanna L. Kelley, PhD, Principal Investigator

Joanna is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Biological Sciences and a member of the Center for Reproductive Biology at Washington State University. She received her PhD in Genome Sciences from University of Washington with advisor Willie Swanson and held postdoctoral positions at University of Chicago in Human Genetics with Molly Przeworski and at Stanford University in the Department of Genetics with Carlos Bustamante. Joanna’s research focuses on the genomic basis of adaptation, with a special emphasis on extreme environments.

email: joanna.l.kelley-at-wsu-dot-edu

Google scholar
profile at GenomeWeb

MC_ScientistMuh-Ching Yee, PhD, Visiting Scientist

Muh-ching (M.C.) has worked as a laboratory researcher at Stanford University in the departments of Genetics, Chemical and Systems Biology, Biology and, most recently, the Carnegie Institution for Science. M.C.’s childhood passion for solving the New York Times crossword has led to her current work playing with the letters of the genetic code in genomics and synthetic biology in human, animal and plant systems. M.C. received an SB in Chemistry at MIT, and a PhD in Chemistry at UC Berkeley, CA.


shapeimage_3Corey Quackenbush, Lab Manager

Corey has worked as a research technician at UC Davis and UNC Chapel Hill. His two largest projects at UNC were the coordinated large-scale behavioral phenotyping for a novel mouse systems genetics project examining the pharmacogenomics of antipsychotic medications and the high-throughput library preparation of thousands of samples for deep resequencing of candidate genes derived from addiction genome wide association studies. In addition to those projects he was also responsible for both the hardware and software IT for the labs. Through this work he has come to discover that he really enjoys the computational aspect of biology. During his time at WSU he plans to hone his lab skills while expanding his knowledge in computational biology.

IMG_2634Anthony Brown, PhD Graduate Student (started August 2014)

Before joining the Kelley lab, Anthony received a B.S. in Biochemistry & Molecular and Cellular Biology at UC Davis.  He then worked as a lab technician at UC Davis in Dr. Judy Van de Water’s immunology lab (  While working for Dr. Van de Water, Anthony contributed to projects on maternal auto-antibody related autism.  During his time at UC Davis, Anthony also developed a strong interest in how populations adapt to the environments that they face.  While in the Kelley lab, Anthony hopes to learn more about the genomic basis of adaptation. Anthony is the recipient of the 2014 Abelson Fellowship from Washington State University College of Arts and Sciences.

10463861_10152603447710955_1757482521715161638_nAlexandra Fraik, PhD Graduate Student (started August 2015, co-advised with Dr. Andrew Storfer)

Alexandra Fraik graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.S. in Zoology and minors in Genetics and Anthropology.  During her undergraduate career at NC State University, Alexandra worked in Dr. Fred Gould’s genetic pest management lab studying the impacts of inbreeding on the life history traits of Culex pipiens molestus and the influence of environmental changes on the Medea element of Red Flour Beetles.  In addition, Alex has experiences researching the prey abundance and landscape ecology of the Fisher, the diversity of ant species in urban settings and the influence of climate change on sex determination in Loggerhead Sea Turtles in Australia.  While in the Kelley Lab, Alexandra hopes to learn more about the genomic basis of adaptation in response to strong selective forces such as disease.

Michael Saxton, PhD Graduate Student (started August 2014, co-advised with Dr. Charles Robbins)

Michael Saxton graduated from the University of California at Davis with a B.S. in Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology in 2009. After graduation he worked as a wildlife biologist with multiple land management agencies and private consulting companies working to manage and conserve a variety of species ranging from Snowy Plovers (Charadrius nivosus) to California tiger salamanders (Ambystoma californiense) to brown bears (Ursus arctos). While working with bears Michael developed an interest in hibernation physiology. In the Kelley lab, Michael studies genomic and transcriptional changes that occur in bears to allow them to survive annual periods of rapid weight gain and starvation as well as many other physiological changes necessary to survive hibernation.

Fall pictureKayla Cribbin, WSU Undergraduate

Kayla is a Pre-Veterinary Zoology major here at WSU. She is a member of the Honor’s College and Army ROTC. Before coming to WSU, she did Running Start at Pierce College while working as gymnastics coach and running a daycare, along with volunteering at the local animal shelter, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, and a veterinary clinic. She’s now a member of several clubs, including the Raptor Club and Pre-Vet Club.

MY FACEJulian Bennett-Ponsford, WSU Undergraduate

Julian is currently a Junior working toward a B.S. in Biology with the Botany specialization. Julian has researched genomics, command line coding and numerous lab techniques while working in the Kelley Lab. His current project, applying these techniques, deals with metagenomic sampling of microbial stream communities in sulfidic conditions. He hopes to continue his work in lab by learning more about his interest areas in plants and plant genetics.

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Allegra Sundstrom, WSU Undergraduate (Fall 2015 – )
Allegra is a sophomore working towards a B.S. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She was a Freshman Distinguished Scholar, and is now a part of the National Honor Society of Leadership and Success, and a member of many clubs on campus including Wildlife Society and Raptor Club. Allegra hopes to gain lots of knowledge by joining the Kelley Lab and she looks forward to be able to apply that knowledge in the future. She is interested in animal behavior and evolution among many other undiscovered topics. Allegra loves travelling, National Parks, and animals and she strives to incorporate all of these passions into her career.

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 7.26.35 PMBineeta Veach, WSU Undergraduate (Fall 2015 – )

Bineeta is currently working on her B.S. in Zoology and has already earned her minor in French Area and Culture Studies. She is a member of Wildlife Society and tutors. After graduation, she wants to perform research in a lab as her career which is why she joined the Kelley Lab in Fall 2015. She is excited to be getting research experience and learning genetics in a new way outside of a lecture. Her current project includes doing PCR and sequencing the ETHE1 gene which is responsible for detoxifying hydrogen sulfide in fish.


Graduate Students:
Kyle Taylor, Non-thesis Master’s (Aug 2014-Dec 2015)

Breeana Barnes, WSU Undergraduate (Spring 2015)
Samantha Varrelman, WSU Undergraduate (2013-2014)
Connor Carrillo, School of Molecular Biosciences STARS student (Fall 2014)