Norah Saarman, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology and Ecology Center
Office: Life Sciences Building 333
Mail: 5305 Old Main Hill BNR117A
I am interested in genetic diversity. I use population genomics and spatial ecology to investigate where species live and move, and the genetic and phenotypic traits that allow them to be successful in their environment. My current research is developing a machine learning method to integrate genetic and ecological information to predict population-level responses to climate change.
Saarman Lab is recruiting students
Please contact Dr. Norah Saarman if you are interested in joining the lab, undergraduate students welcome and encouraged!
The Saarman lab is recruiting masters and undergraduate students! We are building a collaborative group of highly motivated students and researchers that are eager to contribute to global and local problems that can benefit from accurate prediction of population response to climate change. Research areas include ecological genomics and landscape genetics in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in Colombia, sand flies in the Magdalena Valley, and tsetse flies in Uganda.
Candidates are expected to have a strong interest in ecological and landscape genetics, and population genetics. Please visit Department of Biology Application Guidelines for more information on the application process.
The Department of Biology offers excellent opportunities for education, training, funding, and collaboration. USU is located in the city of Logan in the Cache Valley of northern Utah, which offers a reasonable cost of living, abundant recreation opportunities across all four seasons, and incredible access to numerous National Parks across Utah, Montana, and Wyoming. Please visit the Biology department website biology.usu.edu/education/graduate-program/prospective_students for more information.
Fill in the form to the left to learn more about opportunities in the Saarman Lab!
PhD Student, Department of Biology and Ecology Center
I received my bachelors from Westminster College in Neuroscience and Spanish in 2020, and then worked as a COVID-19 Microbiologist at the Utah Public Health Lab before starting at the Saarman Lab in Fall 2021.
I am generally interested in studying disease ecology, microbe-host interactions, and population genetics. I will be investigating the relationship between the insect vector's microbiome and parasites when modeling disease transmission within changing ecosystems. I am especially interested in solving these problems for diseases that pose public health risks.
Ethan K. Meredith
Undergraduate Student, Department of Biology
I am a fourth-year undergraduate at USU studying human biology. I hope to go to medical school upon finishing my time as an undergraduate. I love what I study. Learning about biology has been so much fun. The complexity of life and its many systems constantly surprises and inspires me.
With other members of the Saarman Lab, I have studied dispersal and habitat use of the tsetse fly Glossina fuscipes fuscipes, the major vector of sleeping sickness and Animal African trypanosomiasis, in the Lake Victoria region of Uganda. I have also helped in efforts to study the effectiveness of Wolbachia infection as a method of vector control.
Undergraduate Student, Department of Biology
I am a senior and will finish my bachelors in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in May 2022. I am also completing two minors in Mathematics and Chemistry. I am generally interested in ecology, human interactions with the environment, and more recently, genetics. The intersection between genetics and our environment fascinates me. My goal in this lab is to learn more about how to apply computational methods to study population genetics, while also learning genetics laboratory techniques.
With other members of the Saarman lab, I am investigating the population structure and size of the tsetse fly Glossina fuscipes fuscipes across the landscape of Uganda.
Andrés Gómez-Palacio, PhD
Universidad Pedagogica y Tecnologica de Colombia, Biology Department, Avenida Central del Norte 39-115, Tunja, Boyacá, Colombia
I am an Associated Professor of genetics and evolution at the Pedagogical and Technological University of Colombia (UPTC), South America. My research interests involve the population genetics and phylogeography of tropical vector-borne diseases such as Chagas disease and Dengue fever.
I am currently visiting the Saarman Lab at USU working on a project investigating barriers and conduits to Ae. aegypti mosquitos in Colombian cities with high burden of Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika viruses. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to chat about mosquitoes, Colombia, or population genetics!
Robert Opiro, PhD
Lecturer and Head of Ag.
Gulu University, Department of Biology, Gulu, Uganda, email@example.com
Dr. Opiro is interested in population genomics of insects. He is a Lecturer and serves as the Ag. Head of the Department of Biology at Gulu University, at a public university in northern Uganda.
Together we are developing a project investigating the genetic connectivity, adaptive potential, and distribution of the tsetse fly Glossina fuscipes fuscipes, the major vector of sleeping sickness and Animal African trypanosomiasis. We are focusing on these vectors in northern Uganda, a region of sub-Saharan Africa that has had many challenges in the 21st century due to recent civil unrest (i.e. Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army). This is a vital time for northern Uganda to realize its potential in promoting human health and well-being, as well as conserving its stunning biodiversity and rich cultural heritage.
University of California Berkeley, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, firstname.lastname@example.org
I am currently a PhD student in the Wang Lab at UC Berkeley conducting research on the landscape genomics of fence lizards. I am interested in integrating genomic and environmental data to study how spatiotemporal variation in landscapes shapes connectivity and adaptation under climate change.
My broader research interests align well with the Saarman lab, and include ecological genomics, landscape genetics/genomics, and spatial ecology. We are continuing our collaboration remotely, and enjoy bouncing ideas off each other in our quest to develop and evaluate creative new ways of predicting population response to climate change.