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Lab Updates

April 2023

  • Preston McDonald was awarded a Theodore Roosevelt Grant from the American Museum of Natural History for his work on venom resistance in small mammals. Congrats Preston!

  • Samuel Hirst was a NSF GRFP recipient in the field of Evolutionary Biology and was also awarded a Western North American Naturalist Research Grant for his work on venom evolution in island rattlesnake populations. Congrats Sam!

  • Lauren Trumbull was recently accepted at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida for Fall 2023. Congrats Lauren!

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February 2023

  • Happy to announce that, in collaboration with Lyndsay Rhodes, Matt Metcalf, and Andrew Durso at Florida Gulf Coast University, we were awarded the Holmes Development Fund Award for our proposal entitled, "Analysis of Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus) venom for anti-cancer activity in human breast cancer cell lines". Should be fun!

December 2022

  • We were able to get out in the field and sample a new island in the Tampa Bay area recently with some success!


September 2022

  • Mark Margres will be giving an invited seminar for the European Venom Network​ September 7th at 10:30 am EST entitled "The life-dinner principle paradox among rattlesnakes and their local prey." If you are interested in attending, please register here.

July 2022

  • Dr. Rhett Rautsaw has joined the lab as a postdoctoral research associate. Dr. Rautsaw will be a joint postdoc here and in the Storfer lab at WSU where he will be working on Devil Facial Tumor Disease genomics. Read more about Rhett here

  • Dylan Gallinson will be continuing in the lab as a Ph.D. student, further exploring coevolutionary interactions between Tasmanian devils and DFTD. We couldn't be happier that Dylan will remain in the lab! Read more about Dylan here

November 2022

  • Lauren Trumbull was awarded the Sigma Xi USF Chapter Student Grant for her independent project on rattlesnake venom evolution. Congrats Lauren!!

October 2022

  • We spent several weeks in the field in Baja California collecting samples for Sam's dissertation and our venom project supported by the National Geographic Society. Fortunate to have this as our "office" for several weeks a year.


March 2022​​

  • We were able to get out in the field over the past several weeks and sample some rattlesnakes on local islands here in the Tampa Bay area (photos below). Also, check out this video put together by our colleague Mike Hogan in the Rokyta lab at FSU about a collaborative project on island rattlesnakes up in the panhandle.



  • Dylan Gallinson successfully defended his Master's thesis entitled "Host-Pathogen Coevolution Between Tasmanian Devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) and Devil Facial Tumor Disease". Congrats to Dylan!


April 2022

  • Dylan Gallinson was awarded a scholarship to attend several courses at the University of Washing Biostatistics Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics (SISG) as well as Statistics and Modeling in Infectious Diseases (SISMID). Congrats Dylan!

  • Lauren Trumbull has been inducted into Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society by the USF Chapter. Congrats Lauren!

June 2022

  • Sam Hirst and Lauren Trumbull have each e-presented work on venom evolution in Red Diamond Rattlesnakes and Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes at the Pathogens and Natural Toxins e-Conference. Watch Sam's talk here and Lauren's talk here. Make sure to score each talk as well! All talks will be scored by the public, and the top scorers will then be evaluated by a scientific committee to identify the best student presentations.

February 2022

  • Dylan presented his research on Devil Facial Tumor Disease at the USF Health Research Day 2022 and was awarded the Basic Science Research Award! Congrats Dylan! You can check out his poster here.

May 2021

  • Sam Hirst has joined the lab as a Ph.D. student. Sam will be focusing on venom evolutionary genomics and identifying mechanisms underlying rapid adaptation. Read more about Sam here.

  • Dylan Gallinson has joined the lab as a M.S. student. Dylan will be working on coevolutionary interactions between Tasmanian devils and DFTD. Read more about Dylan here.


August 2020


  • Extremely excited to announce that NSF has funded our Bridging Ecology and Evolution proposal (DEB 2027446) entitled "Eco-evolutionary dynamics of disease-induced apex predator declines"! Looking forward to continue working with Drs. Andrew Storfer, Menna Jones, and Hamish McCallum on the Tasmanian devil-DFTD system.​

December 2020


  • Preston McDonald has joined the lab as a Ph.D. student. Preston will be focusing on coevolutionary interactions between rattlesnakes and their prey. Read more about Preston here.

  • Check out our new paper looking at transmission dynamics in Devil Facial Tumor Disease which was just published in Science! Lot's of nice stories about this work at Science News, National Geographic, and The Conversation. Check out Science's podcast here as well. Huge congrats to Austin Patton and Andrew Storfer for leading this project!

January 2021

  • Check out our new paper looking at the genotype-phenotype relationship for the simplest but most toxic rattlesnake venom which was just published in PNAS! Big thank you to the Parkinson lab for co-leading this project. The paper has been covered by PopSci, NSF, Clemson, and USF

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