Powell and Caccone Lab Members

Powell Lab group photo

Front Row L to R: Jonathan Richardson, Brittney Kajdacsi, Carol Mariani, Julia Brown, Joanne Klein

Middle Row L to R: Mike Reddy, Vasso Pappa, Rafah Samir, Kirstin Dion, Gisella Caccone, Beckie Symula, Katy Richards-Hrdlicka

Back Row L to R: Edgar Benavides, Jeff Powell, Ryan Garrick, Jon Beadell, Chaz Hyseni, Jacob Berv

Jeff Powell

Jeffrey R. Powell did his undergraduate work at the University of Notre Dame where he started working on the mosquito Aedes aegypti under the direction of George B. Craig. In 1969 he went to graduate school at The Rockefeller University where he began empirical population genetics studies of Drosophila under the mentorship of Theodosius Dobzhansky. He obtained his Ph. D. in 1972 from the University of California, Davis, where he moved with Dobzhansky in 1971. He began as an Assistant Professor at Yale in 1972 and has been on the faculty since. He has spent sabbatical leaves at the University of California (Riverside), University of Rome, California Institute of Technology, and Cambridge University. He continues to work on Drosophila and mosquitoes, while initiating in 1991 a research program on genetics of Galápagos tortoises that has taken on a life of its own. His major interests are basic issues of evolutionary genetics and molecular evolution largely using Drosophila as a model organism and application of genetic technologies and concepts to mosquitoes to aid in control of diseases they transmit. He has mentored 17 Ph. D. students to completion, 24 postdoctorals, and >40 undergraduates, as well as hosted six sabbatical visitors.

Kathryn Richards-Hrdlicka

Katy received her Bachelor of Science, Magna Cum Laude, in Biology from Arizona State University in 2004. For her dissertation research, she focuses on understanding the global origin of a devastating infectious disease to amphibians and how it has changed over time in New England. Chytridiomycosis, an epidermal infection caused by the emerging infectious fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (hereafter, Bd), is one of the factors implicated in the worldwide decline of amphibian populations. In the eleven years since Bd's identification, researchers are uncertain where Bd originated from and how it has moved (both spatially and temporally) throughout the world. She uses next generation sequencing technology (Illumina) to identify multiple, new genetic markers and apply them in a series of population genetic analyses to 1) address Bd's global origins and 2) describe how Bd has evolved through time in a focused region of the world, New England. For this second portion of her research she compares Bd's genetic variation from contemporary and museum-preserved DNA from within host (amphibian) tissues. In her spare time, Kathryn enjoys camping, hiking, mountain biking, and visiting her home state, New Hampshire, with both her husband and dog.

Julia Brown

Yale University, PhD candidate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
2009 Yale University, M.S., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
2007 Vanderbilt University, B.S., Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology (High Honors)

The principle aim of her dissertation research is to investigate the ecological and evolutionary history of the mosquito species, Aedes aegypti. Aedes aegypti is the principal worldwide vector of both yellow fever and dengue viruses, and is therefore very important from a public health perspective. Populations of A. aegypti display a huge variety of behavioral and ecological preferences. Through the study of genetic markers in diverse and widespread A. aegypti populations, her research aims to shed light on the propensity of a vector species to adapt to human habitats, and to help elucidate the current distribution of epidemic dengue fever. The three major components of her research are:

1) development and implementation of molecular methods (microsatellites and nuclear DNA sequencing) to describe the worldwide genetic differentiation of A. aegypti populations,
2) use of phylogenetic and coalescent-based analyses to explore the evolutionary history of ecological phenotypes and domesticity, and
3) initial investigations into patterns of vector competence for dengue viruses using a candidate gene approach within a population genetics framework.


The labs of Jeffrey Powell and Adalgisa Caccone collaborate very closely. Several     projects are shared between Jeff and Gisella. Members often work with both PI's and lab meetings are held jointly.