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Undergraduates (and Dr. Oleksiak) show off their ADMIXTURE plots in the Saltwater Semester Marine Conservation Genomics course.

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A school of Atherinomorus stipes near Broad Key, FL. 

Photo taken by Dr. Evan D'Alessandro.


Undergraduate science courses offer students the chance to engage with their peers, discover new interests, and gain confidence in their abilities to understand complex topics. These courses should also provide transferable skills that will aid students as they transition into functioning members of adult society. I aim to teach students about biology, but also hope to help them understand how science is conducted, why it is important, and what it means to be a scientist.


As a postdoctoral fellow I will be co-teaching a course based undergraduate research experience (CURE) where students get to use gene editing to examine physiological and behavioral effects of single gene mutations in Mexican tetra (Astyanax mexicanus).


As a graduate student I co-taught a CURE on evolutionary genetics. Students collected a native coastal forage fish (Atherinomorus stipes) from populations that varied in local salinity regime. In ~10 weeks I used Oxford Nanopore long-read sequencing to assemble a genome for the species and the students completed population genetics analysis which included learning:

  • Linux command line operations

  • Remote supercomputing with the high performance computing cluster

  • Bash job scripting

  • R Studio and R Markdown for data visualization

  • Population genetics analyses including calling genotype likelihoods, ADMIXTURE, principal component analysis, and Fst calculation (genetic distance).

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