The Margres Lab is looking for undergraduate students to start in the Fall of 2021 and graduate students to start in the Fall of 2022! See more information about the graduate program in the Department of Integrative Biology here. Contact Dr. Margres directly if you are interested.

Mark J. Margres, Ph.D.

I received a B.A. in Biology from Bethany College (KS) in 2011 and a Ph.D. in Biology from Florida State University in 2016 where I studied venom evolution with Dr. Darin Rokyta. I was then a postdoctoral researcher at Washington State University where I studied Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) with Dr. Andrew Storfer until 2018. After Washington State University, I moved to Clemson University and was a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Dr. Chris Parkinson where I focused on snake genomics and venom evolution. I then moved to Harvard University as the Sarah and Daniel Hrdy Fellow in Conservation Biology where, with Dr. Michael Desai, I studied how multiple mutations affect tumor growth and transmission in DFTD. I was at Harvard University until I joined the faculty at the University of South Florida in Fall 2020.

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Rhett M. Rautsaw, Ph.D.

I received my B.S. from Wright State University in 2014, my M.S. from the University of Central Florida in 2017, and my Ph.D from Clemson University in 2022 in Dr. Christopher Parkinson’s lab. My postdoc in the Margres Lab is held jointly with Dr. Andrew Storfer at Washington State University. I consider myself an integrative biologist with my interests spanning the intersection of evolution, ecology, genetics, and conservation. Specifically, I use high-throughput sequencing methods and bioinformatics to understand (1) how ecology and changes in the genome impact the evolution of traits and (2) how genetic and trait diversity can impact our conservation decisions. While at USF/WSU, I will be working on Devil Facial Tumor Disease genomics; examining how the tumor has evolved since its divergence from the parental Tasmanian Devil genome.

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Samuel R. Hirst, Ph.D student

I graduated with a B.S. in Genetics, Genomics, and Biotechnology from Brigham Young University (Provo, Utah) in 2021 where I studied the use of eDNA to assess the effects of wildfires on aquatic biodiversity. At USF, I plan to use genomics and other techniques to identify the molecular mechanisms underlying rattlesnake venom variation at multiple scales.

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Preston J. McDonald, Ph.D student

My planned research at USF will focus on the coevolution of venom and venom resistance in rattlesnakes and their prey. I have also been involved in research on the community ecology and microbiomes of paleotropical bats, species distribution and delimitation in blind Texas cave spiders, and conservation assessments of a rare Texas rodent population. Before coming to USF, I earned undergraduate and Master's degrees in biology from Texas Tech University.

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Dylan Gallinson, Ph.D student

I received my B.S. in Biology from St. Petersburg College in 2017 and my M.S.P.H. with a concentration in Genomics from USF in 2022 where I was co-advised by Dr. Margres and Dr. Ryan McMinds. For my Master’s degree, I used genomic data and bioinformatics to study coevolution between Tasmanian devils and devil facial tumor disease (DFTD), a species-specific transmissible cancer. For my Ph.D, I will continue to use high-throughput sequencing data and computational techniques to study the evolution and coevolution of devils and DFTD.

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Lauren Trumbull, Undergraduate

I am an undergraduate student currently pursuing a B.S. in Integrative Animal Biology and a minor in Nutrition. I plan to research rattlesnake venom and its coevolution with venom resistance alongside Ph.D student Preston McDonald.  

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Cameron VanHorn, Undergraduate

I am an undergraduate student currently pursuing a B.S. in Microbiology and a minor in Infection Control. I plan to study the molecular mechanisms underlying rattlesnake venom variation at multiple scales alongside Ph.D student Samuel Hirst. 

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