Principal Investigator

Tom Giarla, Ph.D.

I'm a biologist fascinated by the evolutionary processes that give rise to the incredible diversity of animal life on earth. My primary study systems are various clades of small, cryptic mammals, most of which inhabit threatened tropical habitats. I work to understand the diversity present within those groups (taxonomy), the relationships among those species (phylogenetic systematics), and the processes that shape patterns of diversity across whole clades.

Siena College Research Students

Daniel Biljanoski (Biology '17)

Daniel started working in my lab in January 2016. He is sequencing mitochondrial and nuclear loci across species in the African rodent genus Tachyoryctes. This work is in collaboration with Terry Demos and is still underway. 

Ashley Herkert (Biology '17)

Ashley is taking my Biology of the Vertebrates class and is working with me to gain some experience in molecular biology before graduation. Ashley is working with Maria to amplify and sequence nuclear genes as part of a project on African rodents.

Maria Valdez (Biology '17)

Maria took my ecology class and wanted to gain some experience working in a molecular lab before pursuing a career in a health-related field. Maria is working with Ashley to amplify and sequence nuclear genes as part of a project on African rodents.

Naisla Defran (Biology '17)

Naisla took my Biology of the Vertebrates class and wanted to get some experience working with molecular phylogenetics before graduating. Over the course of the Fall 2016 semester, Naisla worked on an ongoing collaborative phylogeography project focusing on a widespread African rat (Colomys goslingi).

Kylie Small (Biology '17)

Kylie started in my lab in January 2016. She spent the semester comparing various tree building approaches for a large UCE dataset of the crocidurine and myosoricine shrews and presented her results at the annual meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists meeting in Minneapolis in June 2016. Her poster was very popular, and she did a fantastic job explaining her project to attendees from all over the world. In the fall of 2016, Kylie worked on a Drosophila annotation project. After graduating, Kylie will be attending veterinary school at Cornell University.

Kelly Moolick (Biology '16)

Kelly was my first Siena research student, and she spent two full semesters in my lab before graduating. Kelly's project focused on the relative utility of whole mitochondrial genome sequences for building a phylogeny of Southeast Asian spiny rats (Maxomys). Kelly presented her findings at the annual meeting of the American Society of Mammalogists meeting in Minneapolis in June 2016 and did an awesome job! She is working as a lab tech in North Carolina now, and will be applying to Dental School soon. 

 

 

 

Attending a workshop at my alma mater, washington University in St. Louis,  as part of the Genomics Education Partnership.

Attending a workshop at my alma mater, washington University in St. Louis,  as part of the Genomics Education Partnership.

Kelly Moolick presenting her work at the ASM meetng to a big crowd!

Kelly Moolick presenting her work at the ASM meetng to a big crowd!

Kylie Small practicing her poster presentation with me and collaborator Jake Esselstyn.

Kylie Small practicing her poster presentation with me and collaborator Jake Esselstyn.

Daniel Biljanoski working with Tachyoryctes DNA at the bench.

Daniel Biljanoski working with Tachyoryctes DNA at the bench.

Nasila Defran found a spring salamander at Thacher State Park!

Nasila Defran found a spring salamander at Thacher State Park!