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University of Connecticut Yuan Laboratory
Genetics, Development & Evolution

Current lab members


Yaowu Yuan (Assistant Professor)

     Before coming to UConn, Yaowu worked as a Postdoc on the genetic basis of floral trait variation with Dr. Toby Bradshaw at the University of Washington (UW, 2011-1013), and transposable elements and plant genome dynamics with Dr. Sue Wessler at the University of Georgia (UGA, 2009-2010). Before that he trained in plant molecular systematics with Dr. Richard Olmstead at UW (2004-2008) as a graduate student. And before that he studied everything (or nothing) towards a Bachelor degree at Sichuan University (China, 2000-2004). Even before that he had played in the muddy rice paddies and vegetable gardens in a remote agricultural area in central China for 17 years, without a single clue that he was going to study science. Outside of the lab, he enjoys reading, fishing, roller-skating, playing table tennis and card games.


Janelle Sagawa (Research Assistant)

      Janelle grew up in Washington State, and graduated from University of Washington (Seattle) with a B.S. degree in 2012. During the first two years of her undergraduate studies, she worked on the developmental genetics of Arabidopsis stomata patterning in Dr. Keiko Torii's lab. After a short break, she started working on the genetic bases and developmental mechanisms underlying Mimulus floral trait diversification with Yaowu in Dr. Toby Bradshaw's lab, first as an undergraduate research assistant, then as a lab technician. She moved to UConn in the fall of 2013 and continues working with Yaowu on Mimulus. In her spare time she likes running, hiking, and exploring the wilderness of Connecticut.


Lauren Stanley (Graduate Student)

      Lauren is originally from Colorado, and went to University of Pittsburgh for her undergraduate education. While at Pittsburgh, she worked in Dr. Tia-Lynn Ashman's lab on the evolution of mating systems in woodland strawberries. She came to UConn in the Fall of 2014 as a graduate student to work on the genetics and evolution of monkeyflowers. Outside of the lab she likes reading, jogging, and apparently tasting flowers with her nose.


Dominika Bajguz (Undergraduate)

      Dominika is currently a UConn junior majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology. She is keen to work on plant genetics and is particularly interested in transposon-mediated activation tagging in Mimulus. Outside of the lab she competes for the UConn woman's rowing team, and she enjoys reading and running.


Matthew Strobel (Undergraduate)

      Matt is currently a UConn junior majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, with a Minor in Microbiology. He is interested in research that takes a genetic approach to understand phenotypic evolution, and in particular, he is curious about the genetic basis of corolla tube formation and elaboration. Outside of the lab he ski races for UConn, and enjoys hiking and other outdoor activities in New England.


Sean Reilly (Undergraduate)

      Sean is currently a UConn sophomore majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology. He is interested in everything relevant to anthocyanin pigmentation and his main project is on developmental genetic basis of novel anthocyanin pigmentation patterns in experimental hybrids of Chilean Mimulus. In his spare time he is fond of playing guitar and soccer games.


Alex Dykas (Undergraduate)

      Alex is currently a UConn sophomore majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology. He has a strong interest in both genetics and evolution, and aspires to build a career in academia. He works on the transcriptional control of carotenoid pigmentation in Mimulus flowers. Outside of the lab he is passionate about music and film, and he is a member of UCTV.


Chang Liu (Volunteer)

      Chang holds a Bachelor degree in Biology from Sichuan University (China), and a Master degree in Plant Systematics from Idaho State University. She is our super-capable volunteer. She enjoys working with Mimulus plants in the greenhouse and helps us in seed planting, genetic crossing, transgenic screening, and many other greenhouse tasks.