• Hoekstra Lab members outfront of BioLabs building

    The Hoekstra Lab

    Members of the Hoekstra Lab study the molecular, genetic, developmental and/or neurobiological basis of evolutionary change.

  • From morphology to behavior

    We use natural populations of rodents to study the genetic basis of natural variation – from morphology to behavior.

  • Into the field

    We conduct experiments in the field to measure natural variation and fitness in wild populations.

  • Museum specimens

    The lab uses natural history collections to study spatial and temporal variation in natural populations.

  • Public outreach

    Lab members conduct scientific outreach in local schools and museums.

  • Whisking whiskers

    Graduate student Jake Gable studies the genetics and development of whisker evolution in arboreal forest deer mice.

  • Burrowing Behavior

    Postdoc Caroline Hu is studying the neural basis of burrowing behavior in deer mice.

  • Skeletal evolution

    Graduate student Emily Hager studies the coevolution of morphological and behavioral adaptation to climbing.

  • Nesting behavior

    Graduate student Caitlin Lewarch is interested in the genetic and neurobiological basis of nesting behaviors.

  • Measuring behavioral variation

    We use automated methods to quantify natural variation in mouse behavior.

  • In the Lab

    Graduate student Nicole Bedford is studying burrowing behavior in a controlled lab environment.

  • In the field

    We collect DNA from wild populations of mice across North America.

  • Experiment in Progress

    We work with former postdoc Rowan Barrett, using field enclosures to measure fitness in natural populations of mice.

  • Linking Pheonotypic Variation

    Morphometrics allow us to link phenotypic variation with genetic changes.

  • Pigmentation Pattern Formation

    Postdoc Ricardo Mallarino uses evo-devo techniques to uncover the mechanisms underlying pattern formation in different mammals.

  • Reproductive traits evolution

    We study the genetic basis of reproductive traits (such as sperm morphology and behavior) influenced by sexual selection.

  • Natural Selection & Cryptic Pigmentation

    We have used plasticine models to evaluate if natural selection favors cryptic pigmentation in deer mice.

  • Basis of Burrowing

    Graduate student Olivia Meyerson is studying the neurobiological basis of burrowing in wild mice.

  • Pigment Patterning in Vivo

    Viral vectors are used to test the role of genes, and their underlying developmental mechanisms, on pigment patterning in vivo.

  • Natural Trait Variation

    Graduate student Nicole Bedford is studying the evolutionary history of natural populations.

  • Hair Pigmentation

    Postdoc Ricardo Mallarino studies the developmental basis of pigmentation and patterning in mammals.