The Muchhala Lab
University of Missouri - St. Louis
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Nathan Muchhala
(Principal Investigator)

     Ph.D. University of Miami, USA
     B.A. Earlham College, USA

Curriculum Vitae

muchhalan [at]

Laura Lagomarsino
(Postdoctoral Researcher)

     Ph.D. Harvard, USA
     B.S. University of California - Berkeley, USA

Laura studies the taxonomy, phylogeny, and evolution of the Neotropical Lobelioideae, specifically the centropogonid clade (Centropogon, Siphocampylus, and Burmeistera). She is interested in patterns of character evolution, particularly of floral morphology in relation to pollinator shifts, and in diversification and biogeography in the context of Andean uplift. Laura is an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow co-advised by Alexandre Antonelli (U. Gothenburg).  Find out more about her research at

lagomarsino.l [at]

Simon Uribe-Convers
(Postdoctoral Researcher)

     Ph.D. University of Idaho, USA
     B.Sc. Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

Simon is an evolutionary biologist interested in phylogenetics, genomics, plant systematics, and speciation. He has a special interest in evolutionary processes in the páramos, a high elevation ecosystem in the Andes, where high diversification rates and intricate biogeographic movements have produced the high diversity that we see today. Find more about his research at

uribe.convers [at]

Camilo Calderón-Acevedo
(Ph.D. Student)

     B.S. Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia

Camilo is interested in the diversification, evolution and biogeography of mammals.  He is currently working on the taxonomy and systematics of the genus Anoura (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae).

cackcb [at]

Diana Gamba
(Ph.D. Student)

     M.Sc. San Francisco State University, USA
     B.S. Universidad del Valle, Colombia

Diana is interested in studying mechanisms of population differentiation in flowering plants. For her PhD she plans to test hypotheses on mechanisms that lead to disruption of gene flow and allopatric speciation. She will focus on the effect of asynchronic flowering phenology among populations for several species of angiosperms, and will target clades that present pollinator shifts (particularly the tribe Merianieae, Melastomataceae) to analyze the effect of different pollinators on population genetic structure. 

dlgtk5 [at]

Serena Achá
(Ph.D. Student)

     B.S. Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Bolivia

Serena is interested in angiosperm systematics and evolution.  She has worked with Rosaceae, Myrtaceae and Andean flora in general. Serena is co-advised by Peter Jorgensen of the Missouri Botanical Garden, and is currently working with Passiflora subgenus Decaloba, trying to disentangle the phylogeny, diversification patterns and species limits in this group.

sia7vc [at]

Mayra Ninazunta
(Ph.D. Student)

     B.S. Pontificia Univ. Católica del Ecuador, Ecuador

Mayra is interested in the role of reproductive isolation in the diversification of plants.  She plans to test the idea that specialization on pollinators can increase reproductive barriers within plant populations and thus increase speciation rates.

mayra.ninazunta [at]

Juan Moreira
(Ph.D. Student)

     M.Sc. Universidad de Costa Rica, Costa Rica
     B.S. Universidad de Costa Rica, Costa Rica

Juan is interested in the ecology of plant-animal mutualisms involved in plant reproduction. He has previously worked on the reproductive ecology of Virola (Neotropical nutmegs) and their dispersal by large arboreal frugivores (toucans and spider monkeys). For his PhD, he wants to explore how pollinators’ community assemblage and foraging behavior influence the delivery of pollination services and hence, gene flow patterns within and between plant populations.

juan.moreira [at]

Lab Alumni

Mónica Carlsen
(Postdoctoral Researcher, 2014-15)

     Ph.D. Univ. of Missouri - St. Louis, USA
     M.Sc. Univ. of Missouri - St. Louis, USA
     B.S. Universidad Central de Venezuela

Monica worked on the molecular phylogenetics of Burmeistera.  She is currently a Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellow at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

monica.carlsen [at]

Rossana Maguiña
(M.Sc. Student)

     B.S. Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Peru

Rossana is interested in bat-plant interactions in montane forest ecosystems.  For her Master's project, she studied the effects of artificial nectar feeders on these interactions. She is currently a research assistant at Temple University.

nrm5h4 [at]

Stephanie Mafla-Mills


sjmyb4 [at]

'Bat Cave' Setup 2015

Greenhouse Burmeistera 2015

Labwork 2015

Fieldwork 2014

Lab Meeting 2014

North American Symposium on Bat Research 2014