Catherine earned her B.S. in Ecology from the University of Georgia (2000). She then went on to complete her Ph.D. in Brian Farrell's lab (2007) and spent four years as a postdoc in Hopi Hoekstra's lab (2007-2011), both in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Kentucky. When not in the lab, she enjoys spending time with her family (see "Honorary Lab Members" below).
PhD Candidate: Kim Vertacnik
Kim completed her B.S. in molecular biology at Western Washington University (2010), where she worked on Rhagoletis speciation under Dietmar Schwarz. After graduation, she worked as a lab tech at Penn State in Kelli Hoover's lab, then joined the Linnen Lab in 2012. In her graduate work, Kim is using comparative genomics to investigate the genetic basis of host-use specialization in pine sawflies. Outside of Biology, Kim has work experiences ranging from retail to domestic violence advocacy. Much to the delight of her labmates, she also loves to bake.
PhD Candidate: John Terbot
John completed his B.S. in Evolution/Ecology and Entomology at The Ohio State University (2012). Joining the lab in 2013, he is studying the genetics and evolution of feeding aggregations, using Neodiprion as a model. Art is also very important to John. He particularly enjoys mixed media, digital, film, and video arts. He is an advocate for collaboration and cooperation between art and science. Through these interactions, he hopes to learn new perspectives on scientific issues and communicate science to a broader audience.
PhD Candidate: Emily Bendall
Emily earned her B.A. in biology from Willamette University in 2013, where she worked on coevolution of yuccas and yucca moths in Chris Smith’s lab. She joined the lab in 2014. Emily is studying the genetic architecture of divergent host-use traits in Neodiprion, and their role in speciation.
PhD Student: Megan Thomas
Megan is from Louisville, KY and earned her BS in biology from Centre College in 2010. After graduation Megan worked as an autotransfusionist for 2 years, then earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Louisville and taught high school biology for 5 years. She is now attending her third Kentucky-based education institution as a PhD student. Megan is investigating the role of divergence in sawfly genitalia in preventing gene flow between sister species in sympatry. When not in the lab Megan can be found hiking, camping, or practicing yoga with her husband and pup.
Undergraduate: Maya Gershtenson
Maya is a sophomore biochemistry major/music performance minor from Richmond, KY. She hopes to continue her education in graduate school and ultimately pursue a career in research.
Ndeye is from Senegal, West Africa. She moved to Lexington, Kentucky in 2011. She earned her associate in science degree at Bluegrass Community and Technical College. She transferred to UK as a junior in Fall 2015 where she is pursing her B.S. in Biology. Ndeye is also planning to get a minor in French. Her dream is to attend medical school and to become an oncologist. Ndeye enjoys helping others, reading and taking care of other people.
Undergraduate: Hallee Mason
Hallee is a Biology major from Frankfort, KY. She hopes to become a pharmacist after graduation. She enjoys reading and singing in the UK women's choir.
Undergraduate: Nicole Payne
Nicole is a junior Agricultural and Medical Biotechnology major from Bagdad, Ky. She plans on furthering her education by attending medical school, and earning her MD.
Undergraduate: Dylan P'Simer
Dylan is a senior majoring in Biology, with a minor in neuroscience. He is from eastern Kentucky and ultimately hopes to become an orthopedic surgeon. His hobbies include soccer, hiking, and horseback riding.
Postdoc: Danielle Herrig
Danielle earned her B.S. in Biology at St. Ambrose University (2010). During her PhD at the University of Iowa, she investigated the genetics of speciation utilizing Drosophila sister species to assess gene flow, gene expression divergence for different gene types, and the role of gene expression in hybrid dysfunction. Her work in the Linnen Lab focuses on characterizing gene expression across life-stages and in different tissue types to unveil the role of chemosensory gene expression changes in development, mate choice, and speciation. She enjoys spending her time outside of the lab hiking and exploring new places with her husband and hound.
Undergraduate: Kayla Mattingly
Kayla is a sophomore Biology major with a Spanish minor from Louisville, KY. After graduation, she hopes to attend medical school to become a pediatric oncologist. She enjoys baking, volunteering, and hanging out with friends.
Undergraduate: Abby Hillmann
Abby is a Sophomore majoring in both Biology and Psychology with a minor in History. She has a wide variety of interests and hobbies but her main focus is Biology. She plans to apply to medical school and hopes to become a psychiatrist because she loves working with people.
Undergraduate: Parisa Shamaei Zadeh
Parisa is a sophomore from Eastern Kentucky majoring in Human Health Sciences. She enjoys traveling in her free time.