Janis Antonovics

Lewis and Clark Professor of Biology

B.A., Cambridge University, 1963
Ph.D., University of Wales, 1966
Curriculum Vitae

Research in my lab is on the evolution and epidemiology of infectious diseases in natural populations. Current research questions focus on the role of diseases in determining species range limits, host-pathogen co-evolution, and the evolutionary dynamics of sexually transmitted diseases. The research combines theoretical modeling with empirical research on sexually transmitted diseases of plants (the anther smuts) and analysis of datasets involving diseases of organisms ranging from bumble-bees to humans.




Emily Bruns

I am interested in factors that maintain genetic variation in host-pathogen systems. My Ph.D research examined constraints to the evolution of pathogen infection and spore production in the oat crown rust fungus.





Amy Johnson

Amy is studying the genetics of an unusual population of Silene found along the Moorman's River in Charlottesville, Va. Her research focuses on whether these populations are the result of hybridization between Silene caroliniana and S. virginica.

Robbie Richards

Robbie is studying the importance of transmission of Microbotryum violaceum from non-host species onto Dianthus spp.

Prima Vithoontien

Prima works as a part time research assistant. She is interested in sociology and biology and is a pre-med student. She hopes to go to medical school or graduate school in nursing and pursue a career in family care. 

Steffi Muller

When she's not in biology and English classes, Steffi works part time in the lab. She enjoys working in the greenhouse and plans on pursuing a career in veterinary medicine or wildlife rehabilitation.

Jacob Mirpanah

Jacob is experimenting with inoculation in gauging disease detection and resistance in Microbotryum violaceum.

Maggie Berrigan

David Tyson

David is conducting a REU project studying the susceptibility of Silene baccifera to anther smut disease caused by the fungus Microbotryum. His research is focused on field sampling, inoculation experiments, plant growth in the greenhouse, and molecular characterization of the disease. He is also interested in the disease and host distribution based on museum collections.

Cindy Beard

Cindy is interested in the effects of pollinators on transmission as well as in mating types dynamics.



Research Technicians

Tim Park

Tim graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in Biology in 2011. In the summer of 2010, he conducted an REU project with Henry Wilbur studying the host-parasite dynamics of Quercus rubra and Conopholis americana.
























Past Students and Post-Docs...where are they now?


University of Stirling, Scotland

1972: G. C. Craig. The population genetics of Agrostis canina with respect to lead tolerance. M. S.

1972: H. A. Ford. Ecological partitioning by Drosophila populations. Ph. D.

1975: J. Watson. Evolution in heterogeneous environments. Ph. D.

Duke University

1973: S. L. Chen. Selection for competition interactions between Drosophila strains. M. S.

1974: M. C. Grant. Genetic properties of ecologically marginal populations of Anthoxanthum odoratum. Ph. D.
         University of Colorado

1976: J. A. Silander. The genetic basis of ecological amplitude in Spartina patens on the outer banks of North          Carolina. Ph. D.
         University of Connecticut

         R. Primack. The evolutionary basis of population dynamics in the genus Plantago. Ph. D.
         Boston University

1977: R. Wyatt. Population dynamics and reproductive biology of butterflyweed, Asclepias tuberosa L. Ph. D.

1978: N. Fowler. Competition and coexistence in an herbaceous plant community. Ph. D.
         University of Texas, Austin

         T. Meagher. Evolutionary consequences of dioecy in Chamaelirium luteum, a perennial plant          species. Ph. D.
         University of St. Andrews

         A. Teramura. Local differentiation and light and temperature acclimation in populations of Plantago          lanceolata, the Ribwort Plantain. Ph. D.  (co-adviser, B. R. Strain).
         University of Hawai'i, Manoa

1981: J. Reinartz. Biomass partitioning, life-history and population dynamics of common mullein (Verbascum          thapsus L.). Ph. D.
         University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee

1982: K. Clay. Ecological and genetic consequences of cleistogamy in the grass Danthonia spicata. Ph. D.
         Indiana University

         H. M. Alexander. Demography of and intraspecific variation in Plantago lanceolata in relation to infection          by the fungus Fusarium moniliforme var. subglutinans.  Ph. D. (co-adviser, M.D. Rausher)
         Kansas University

         J. McGraw. Physiological processes determining fecundity and mortality in Dryas octopetala ecotypes.          Ph. D. (co-adviser, Dr. B. R. Strain)
         West Virginia University

1983: S. Via. Genetic basis of polyphagy: genotype x environment interaction in host plant use by an insect          herbivore. Ph. D.  (co-adviser, M. D. Rausher)
         University of Maryland

         R. Shaw. Ecology and genetics of density dependent regulation in Salvia lyrata. Ph. D.
         University of Minnesota

1984: R. J. Ambrose. Ecologically based agricultural technology in Central America: experiments with          polyculture cropping systems.  M. S.

         D. A. Roach. Ecological genetics of life-history characteristics in Geranium carolinianum. Ph. D.
         University of Virginia

         A. J. Hruska. Plant density, varietal diversity and cyanogenic glucoside level effects in a cassava          (Manihot esculenta Crantz) agroecosystem in Costa Rica.  M.S.

1985: S. Kelley. The mechanism of sib-competition for the maintenance of sexual reproduction in          Anthoxanthum odoratum. Ph.D.

1986: B. Jacobs. The relative fitness of atrazine resistant biotypes of Solanum nigrum. M. S. (co-adviser, Dr.          D. Patterson)

         N. Jordan. Components of adaptive differentiation in a weedy plant, Dioidea teres. Ph. D.
         University of Minnesota

         K. Moloney. Determinants of species distributions: Danthonia sericea as a model system. Ph. D.
         Iowa State University

         E. Lyons. The evolutionary significance of breeding system variation in Leavanworthia crassa Rollins          (Cruciferae). Ph.D.
         State Department, Washington, D.C.

1989: J. Evans. Population consequences of clonal integration in a heterogeneous environment. Ph. D.          (co-adviser, B. Strain.).
         Sewanee, The University of the South

         F. Levy. Mechanisms of speciation in Phacelia. Ph. D.
         East Tennessee State University

         A. Kelly. Distribution and crossing relationships within and among diploid and tetraploid populations of          Cuthbertia graminea Small.  M. S.

1990: L. Broaddus. Natural selection on gynodioecy in Plantago lanceolata. Ph. D.
         River Network

         B. Best. A stochastic model of genetic differentiation at the margin of a finite plant population. M. S. 
         Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigacion para el Desarrollo Integral Regional

1991: P. Peroni. Genetic change and persistence of red maple (Acer rubrum L.) during secondary succession          in North Carolina piedmont forests. Ph. D. (co-adviser N. Christensen)
         Davidson College

1992: R. Del Castillo. Evolutionary consequences of breeding systems in Phacelia dubia. Ph. D.

         M. Ronsheim. The relative advantages of sexual and asexual reproduction in Allium vineale. Ph. D. 
         Vassar College

         J. Bever. Ecological and evolutionary dynamics of plants and their soil community. Ph. D. 
         Indiana University

         P. Thrall. Genetics and population dynamics of the Silene-Ustilago plant pathogen system. Ph. D. 
         CSIRO Australia

         D. Taylor. Sex ratio bias in Silene alba. Ph. D. 
         University of Virginia

1993: J. Molofsky. Population dynamics and pattern formation in populations: theoretical and empirical tests          using Cardamine pensylvanica. Ph. D.
         University of Vermont

1995: E. Crone. Causes of complex dynamics in long-term experimental populations of  Cardamine          pensylvanica. Ph. D.
         Harvard Forest

1997: S.  St. Amour. Sex-ratio and sex-switching in Jack-in-the-Pulpit. M.S.

         C. Richards. Population genetics of the colonisation process in Silene alba. Ph. D.
         USDA, Colorado

         M. Olson. Genetic basis of sex-determination in Astilbe biternata. Ph. D.
         Texas Tech University

2000: A. Pringle. Genetics and community ecology of mycorrhizal fungi. Ph. D.
         Harvard University

         M. Gilchrist. Virulence, transmission, and added mortality: measuring and modeling the relationships
         that drive parasite evolution . Ph. D. 
         University of Tennessee, Knoxville

2002: L. C. Moyle. Evolution and genetics of reproductive isolation in Silene. Ph. D.
         Indiana University

         A. Heidel. Systemic acquired resistance expression in mutant and natural populations of Arabidopsis.          Ph. D.
         Leibniz Insitute for Age Research, Jena, Germany

         K. O'Keefe. Evolution of the sterility component of virulence and levels of selection. Ph. D.

2003: D. Hlavaty. Causes and consequences of biased sex-ratios in the ant Leptothorax. M.A.

         A. Golonka. Evolutionary and ecological consequences of nectar-inhabiting microorganisms. Ph. D.
         University of South Carolina, Lancaster

University of Virginia

2005: A. B. Pederson. Intestinal parasites and acorn masts in the population dynamics of Peromyscus. Ph. D.
         University of Edinburgh

2007: J. Abbate. The evolution of suppressed recombination in the sex chromosomes of Microbotryum. M.S.
         Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionelle et Evolutive, CNRS UMR 5175

2009: V. Panjeti. Spatial dynamics at population margins. Ph. D.
         Emory University, Biology Department

2010: C. Baker. Correlates of genetic variation in susceptibility to infectious disease in humans. M.S.
         Battelle, Charlottesville, VA

2012: J. Abbate. Determinants of pathogen distribution in natural populations. Ph. D
         Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionelle et Evolutive, CNRS UMR 5175

Post-Doctoral Associates

1968-70 - Heather Dickinson - Newcastle University, U.K.

1973-75 - Lin Wu - University of California, Davis

1978-86 - Thomas Meagher - University of St. Andrews

1979-80 - Norman Ellstrand - University of California, Riverside

1981-82 - Annie Schmitt - Brown University

1983-84 - Ruth Shaw - University of Minnesota

1983-86 - Alex Motten - Duke University

1984-86 - Jon Shaw - Duke University

1987-88 - Francois Felber - Universite de Neuchatel, Switzerland

1987-89 - Don Stratton - University of Vermont

1988-89 - Arjen Biere - Netherlands Institute of Ecology

1989-91 - Kaius Helenurm - University of South Dakota

1989-90 - Peter van Tienderen - Universiteit van Amsterdam

1990-91 - Andrew Jarosz - Michigan State University

1992-97 - Peter Thrall - CSIRO Australia

1992-97 - Jim Bever - Indiana University

1995-99 - Kristi Westover - Winthrop University

1997-00 - Shamima Akhter

1997-02 - Michael Hood - Amherst College

1999-01 - Charlie Nunn - Harvard University

2002-03 - Joanna Vondrasek - Piedmont Community College

2004-06 - Louise Johnson - University of Reading


ca. 1999 - Wendy Palen

ca. 2000 - John Hammond

               Sarah Joyner

               Molly Brooke

               Britt Koskella

               Jessica Partain

               Sara Hyland

               Melanie Katawczik

               Findley Ransler

ca. 2001 - LizMcKenzie

               Kristin Novotny

               Hilary Heishman

               Stephanie Conrad

               Lola Fatoyinbo

               Joe Abrams

               Jessie Abbate

               Dan Streicker

               Mike Duthie

               Ginger Leonard

               Lorraine Cafuir

               Meghan Thompson

               Kyle Dexter

               Brenda Johnson

               Erin McCrelless

               Andrea Jones

               Matt Semler

     2004 - Christi Cordero

               Ryan Anderson


     2005 - Linda Liu

               Bingjie Ling

               Doug Daley

               Christina Jenkins

               Dave Boyd

               Vanessa Amos

               Jeff Kan

     2008 - Ashlee Aldridge

               Laura Pall

               Ashton Erler

               Alia El-Kahid

     2009 - Kerri Coon

               Chris Winstead-Derlega

     2010 - Lisa Razzi

               Ahlia Sekkare

               Carolyn Farnsworth

     2011 - Amy Johnson

               Anthony Ortiz

               Robbie Richards

               Prima Vithoontien

               Steffi Muller

     2013 - Cindy Beard

               David Tyson