Amanda De La Torre (Lab PI) is an Assistant Professor at the NAU School of Forestry. She obtained her PhD from the University of British Columbia (Canada), and later worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Umea University (Sweden), and the University of California-Davis. As a forest geneticist, Amanda is interested in understanding how long-generation trees adapt to changes in their environment, using tools in genomics, transcriptomics, physiology, and epigenomics. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and painting.

ResearchGate GoogleScholar

Sean Collins is a PhD student starting Fall 2022 at the NAU School of Forestry. His research centers around examining how a population, or a community, interact with their environment and respond to stress. His undergraduate research focused on how stress affected metabolic rate and disease resistance in red-backed salamanders. As a M.Sc student, his research focused on using environmental DNA metabarcoding to characterize amphibian communities. His interest in bioinformatics and genetic approaches blossomed as a graduate student. He then made the jump to population genomics and he is interested in learning more about the interplay between genomic variation and stress tolerance. His other greatest passions, outside of research, are mountain biking and road cycling.

Laura Figueroa (postdoctoral researcher) is an evolutionary biologist interested in population genetics, ecological physiology, and landscape genomics. During her M.Sc (UMSNH, Mexico) and her PhD at UNAM (Mexico) she identified historical migration events, divergence and adaptive processes in pinyon pines. She enjoys solving puzzles and listening to rock music.

Kailey Baesen (Lab Manager and MSc student) is interested in genomic approaches to evolutionary biology, bioinformatics and population structure. Over the course of her undergraduate, she had developed deep interests in plant genetics and understanding the natural world around her through a genetic lens. She hopes to use her experience studying biology to help answer questions about how migration, selection and genetics all shape the world around us. In her free time, you can probably find her in a bookstore, at farmers’ market, or cooking a nice meal with friends.

Sharon Holtaway (Undergraduate Researcher) is studying her BS at the NAU School of Forestry. Her research interests include genetic resistance to tree and plant pathogens and diseases. She would like to learn more about increased productivity through genetic modification in agriculture and agroforestry settings. She is also interested in biodiversity changes due to climate along with the rapid adaptation of exotic invasive species.

Amanda Fitzhugh is a HURA research award recipient and a senior undergrad student studying for her bachelors in Forestry. She has a deep-rooted interest in forests and learning more about what the natural world has to offer. When she is not studying for class she is hiking in remote places of Arizona, Colorado, and Alaska, writing to hopefully someday publish a novel, and drawing anything and everything.

Lilyana Kolody (undergraduate lab assistant) is a freshman majoring in Environmental Science with a Biology emphasis. She is working towards taking Botany classes and studying Plant Biology. Coming from the desert city of Yuma (Arizona), she enjoys the plants around Flagstaff. On her own time, she likes to watch anime, crochet and listen to music.


Lino Reyes (undergraduate student, Forestry, 2021-2022)

Dylan Chandler (graduate student, Env. Sciences, 2020-2022)

Andrew Henning (undergraduate student, Forestry, 2021-2022)

Manoj Kumar S. (Postdoctoral researcher, 2021)

Benjamin Wilhite (MSc student, graduated April 2021)

Matthew Weiss (MSc student, graduated July 2020)

Bobin Liu (Visiting Researcher from Fujian Agricultural University, China, 2018-2019)

Samuel Compton (undergraduate student, Forestry, graduated April 2021)

Charles Stackpole (undergraduate student, Env. Sciences, 2020-2021)

Benjamin Covington (undergraduate student, Forestry, 2018-2019)

Seth Hendrickson (undergraduate student, Biochemistry, graduated April 2021)

Morgan Henson (undergraduate student, Forestry, 2018-2019)

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