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 tree species respond to biotic and abiotic stresses using tools in genomics, transcriptomics, physiology, and epigenomics. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and painting.

ResearchGate GoogleScholar

Pablo Peláez (postdoctoral researcher) is a genomic scientist and bioinformatician interested in understanding the underlying mechanisms that strengthen resilience in plants against biotic and abiotic stresses. He obtained his B.Sc degree in Genomic Sciences and his Ph.D in Biomedical Sciences from UNAM (Mexico). He did postdoctoral research in plant genomics at the National Laboratory of Genomics for Biodiversity (LANGEBIO-CINVESTAV), at the Institute of Biology (UNAM), and at the Center for Genomic Sciences (UNAM). He enjoys hanging out with friends and listening to regional Mexican music.

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. Laura is currently working on transcriptome assembly and annotation, differential expression and DNA methylation in white pine species. She enjoys solving puzzles and listening to rock music.

Sean Collins is a PhD student 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. Sean is currently working on the population and quantitative genomics of Ponderosa pine. His other greatest passions, outside of research, are mountain biking and road cycling.

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. Kailey’s graduate research aims to understand patterns of hybridization and abiotic stress tolerance in Douglas fir. In her free time, you can probably find her in a bookstore, at farmers’ market, or cooking a nice meal with friends.

Sharon Holtaway is a Master of Forestry student 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. Sharon’s graduate research involves population and quantitative genomics of mangrove species.

Isabella Qualls is an undergraduate studying Biology and Secondary Education in Biology. Her interests include extremophiles, biological soils crust and has become very interested in genetics. She plans to continue her education in the field of Astrobiology after graduation. In her free time, she enjoys going on hikes with her dog and painting.

Brooke Harris is an Environmental Science undergraduate student. She is currently dipping her toes into research, which she hopes to continue with in the future. Her research interests include ecology and learning more about plant interactions with the environment, especially how they react to warming climates. She also enjoys hammocking with friends, hiking and making art in her free time.

Nylah Edwards is an undergraduate studying Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She always had a general fascination with wildlife and conservation biology. She is also interested in population genetics and how specific mutations affect communities. Throughout college, she has also recently been interested in Phylogenetics and gene evolution. In her free time, she enjoys going to concerts and local music events, flea markets, foraging, and finding new trails to hike around Flagstaff!

Mariola Barrera is an undergraduate studying Forestry with certificates in Forest Health and Restoration as well as Botany. Her research interests include understory plant population dynamics, fecundity, and plant traits. She is also pursuing her certification as a Master Gardener of Arizona where she volunteers to teach the community about gardening. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, going to concerts, and making art.


Amanda Fitzhugh (undergraduate student, Forestry, 2020-2022)

Lilyana Kolody (undergraduate student, Env. Sciences, 2022)

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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