tomatoMoyle Lab

Lab Members


Leonie Moyle

Principal Investigator/Fearless Leader

Ph.D. Duke University, 2002

Center for Population Biology Research Fellow, U.C. Davis, 2002-2005

Phone: 812/856-7027
Fax: 812/855-6705
Email: lmoyle[at]



Natasha Sherman

Post Doc

Ph.D. University of Georgia, 2009

I am interested in investigating potential covariance of adaptation to stressful environments, and early reproductive isolation. Populations vary in their reproductive compatibility, both with population within the species, and with closely related species. It has been argued that many of the incompatibilities between species arose after the initial speciation event, with the question remaining as to the identity of the early isolating mechanisms. In the Moyle lab I am working to gain further understanding of the postzygotic isolating mechanisms between wild species of Solanum, in addition to investigating population differences in postzygotic isolation.

My Ph.D. work was focused on population genetics in a Genus of Composites, Stephanomeria.

Email: natsherm[at]


David Haak

Post Doc

Ph.D. University of Washington, 2010

My focus is on describing the processes involved in local adaptation and ecological speciation. Towards this goal, my previous work has centered on secondary plant compounds and their role in shaping the adaptive process (i.e. are they fine tuning “micro-mutations”, or could they alter the adaptive landscape via small mutations of large effect?). Ultimately my goal is to understand how secondary metabolism has contributed to Angiosperm diversification. In my graduate work I focused on the polymorphic roduction of secondary compounds in ripe fruit of wild chilies. This work required extensive characterization of the selective environment and phylogeographic relationships within 10 polymorphic (hot and not hot) populations of Capsicum chacoense in southeastern Bolivia and among three other species of wild chili we have found to be polymorphic for pungency. We discovered that an adaptive tradeoff maintains the polymorphism in pungency (heat) for the chili pepper. This tradeoff is manifested through drought tolerance and seed chemical protection.

Email: dhaak[at]



Chris Muir

Graduate Student

I am interested in how the genetics of speciation influence large scale patterns of biodiversity. The type of questions I hope to address in my dissertation include: What is the genetic architecture of traits underlying species differences? Do genes underlying divergent adaptation also drive reproductive isolation? Are biodiversity gradients explicable from a genetic understanding of adaptation?

Email: cdmuir[at]



C.J. Jewell

Grad Student

B.S. in Molecular Biology at Ohio Northern University.

I'm interested in the genetics of plant evolution, speciation, and adaptation- more specifically the evolution of ecologically important adaptations, phenotypic changes, reproductive isolation, and the genetics underlying these processes. I am also interested in the evolution of mating systems and how dioecious and monecious species adapt and speciate differently.

Email: cpjewell[at]


Dean Castillo

Grad Student

Key words: coevolution, speciation, sexual antagonism/selection, local adaptation

Email: dmcastil[at]


Jamie Kostyun

Grad Student

Key words: floral evolution, speciation, evo-devo

Email: jkostyun[at]


Stacey Vosters

STARS Student

I spent last year investigating within-species and between-species variation in cold tolerance of tomato seeds. This year I'm attempting to map this trait using near isogenic lines.


Blake Ballenger

Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am a pre-dental student studying history, biology and chemistry. I enjoy showing the tomatoes who is the boss! I also enjoy the discovery/history channel. I may or may not be obsessed with the band "Lights"






Rachel Chang

Undergraduate Research Assistant



Anna Victorine

Undergraduate Research Assistant

I am a junior Biology student (minoring in social science & medicine, and biological management) with a love of genetics, particularly as it relates to healthcare; I plan to pursue genetic counseling in graduate school! I am currently assisting Natasha with a lot of molecular biology methods in the lab.

Alex Lancaster

Undergraduate Research Assistant

I'm a sophomore Biology major minoring in Chemistry and Anthropology.  I'm interested in genetics and learning more about the tomato plant!  I spend most of my time in the greenhouse taking care of the plants and helping with whatever needs to be done.



Emily LeVin

Undergraduate Research Assistant




Former Lab Members

Rebecca Compton

Research Associate




Jimmy Krantz

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Yaniv Brandvain

Ph.D. Indiana University, 2010

Recently graduated Graduate Student (co-advised by Mike Wade). I worked on some problems in population genetic theory. Some of these problems involve the evolution of genomic imprinting. With Leonie, I undertook controlled crosses to identify imprinted regions of the tomato genome. Read more about me here.

Currently a post-doctoral fellow at the center for population biology at UC Davis.

Email: ybrandva[a]

Amanda Posto

Masters student

While at the Moyle lab, I focused on identifying differential gene expression between partial pollen sterile NILs, partial ovule sterile NILs and the parent, Solanum lycopersicum, the domesticated tomato.

Currently working in the Indiana University Chemistry Department.

Email: aposto[at]

Mohamed Yakub

Research Associate

While in the Moyle Lab, I worked on a variety of lab projects, mainly fine-mapping QTL regions of interest and verifying microarray data. I also worked with Stacey looking at cold tolerance of tomato seeds. I enjoyed every minute of my time in the greenhouse.

Currently a grad student at University of Minnesota.


Emily Josephs

Research Associate

While at the Moyle lab, I was investigating within-species variation in reproductive isolation using two RIL populations descended from crosses between domestic and wild tomatoes.

Currently a graduate student at University of Toronto.

Sarah Josway

Research Associate

While at the Moyle lab, my project was focused on examining the strength and direction of epistasis between introgressions in a population of double introgressed lines (DILs).

Currently working in the Wilkinson lab at University of Maryland.

Emily Lines

Research Assistant

I am from Carmel, Indiana and recently graduated with a degree in International Studies and German. I am now in graduate school for international relations.



Monika Fryska

Research Assistant

I worked in the lab for four years, assisting with everything from plant care to data entry to pollen counting to BLASTING data to tomato processing and counting tomato seeds. I am now a biology teacher.

Sarah Blanchard

Honors Student

Currently in dental school.


Janice Lin

Honors Student

Pursuing an MD/PhD at I.U.P.U.I.

Katie Wolt

Undergrad Research Assistant

Currently putting my tomato-tending skills to use working for a community garden in Olympia, Washington.

Tak Nakazato, post-doctoral associate (currently at the Univerity of Memphis, website)
Steve Dunkelbarger, research associate
Martina Jackson, Anthony Dee, Melanie O'Day, Pooja Patel, Amarinder Matheru, Michal Janer, Doug Drury, Rebecca Burns, Patrick Cambell