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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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.


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.


Dylan Gallinson, Master's student

I graduated with a B.S. in Biology from St. Petersburg College in 2017. While an undergraduate, I explored a transcriptomic dataset derived from human pancreatic exocrine cells to look at the differential expression of non-coding RNAs and find those with potential implications to exocrine dedifferentiation. I currently am a Master’s student in the College of Public Health with a concentration in genomics. While at USF, I intend to study the coevolution of Tasmanian devils and a transmissible tumor, Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD). I am co-advised by Dr. Ryan McMinds.


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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