The Yang Lab works on plant systematics and evolution.
We combine field and collection-based approaches with phylogenetics, transcriptomics, and genomics to:
A less technical description of what we do:
By studying gene sequences and comparing specimens, we ask questions such as how plant species relate to each other and how they evolved the ability to survive deserts and mountaintops.
- July: Four lab members (Alex, Aaron, Ya, and Rebekah) attended the Botany conference in Boise, ID. Each of us participated in field trips and presented work from the lab.
- May: Aaron passed his prelim exam and is now a Ph.D. candidate. Congratulations!
- May: Rebekah did a great job with her defense and is now Dr. Mohn! Congratulations!
- May: Ya is promoted to associate professor with tenure. In addition, Ya is named a McKnight Presidential Fellow, a three-year award for mid-career faculty at the University of Minnesota. Ya will be on sabbatical during the 2023–2024 academic year.
- Five lab members (Alex, Annika, Aaron, and Rebekah) attended the Botany conference in Anchorage, Alaska, presenting two talks and two posters. All of us also spent some additional time exploring Alaska.
- Jun: Zack Radford, our lab manager, has led the effort to establish our plant stress experiments, trained and helped multiple lab members, and kept the lab running. He moved to the University of South Carolina and is starting as a Ph.D. student at the Wessinger Lab. Best of luck, Zack!!
- Nov–Dec: Dr. Marian Schubert is visiting from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences for three weeks, working on gene family evolution in cold tolerance and vernalization in grass.
- Sep: Brett Fredericksen joined the lab as a postdoc. Welcome!
- Sep: Ben Cooper joined the lab as a Ph.D. student. Welcome!
- Sep: Erin Boehme, our superstar undergrad, just wrapped up her summer project working with Rebekah and Aaron on constructing a character matrix for 200+ Drosera species and presenting a poster during the virtual Botany meeting.
- Jul: Diego moved to a new position as a postdoctoral associate in the group of Prof. Dr. Gudrun Kadereit at the Munich Botanical Garden, Germany. Diego was one of our founding members of the lab. He did innovative work on detecting hybridization and polyploidy from transcriptome and Hyb-Seq datasets. He also played an essential role in mentoring many lab members, updating lab protocols and analysis pipelines, and co-teaching several workshops. We will miss you, Diego!
- Mar: Aaron is awarded an NSF GRFP! Congratulations!
- Dec: Zack Radford joined the lab as our new lab manager. Welcome!
- Sep: We are part of a team of plant ecologists, evolutionary biologists, biochemists, computational biologists, and remote sensing specialists who tackle changes in plant biodiversity from the scale of cells to the earth system. The work is funded by an NSF Biology Integration Institutes (BII) award.
- Aug: A new paper led by Diego on distinguishing alternative sources of gene tree discordance and the lack of resolution at the base of Amaranthaceae is now out on Systematic Biology!
- July: The lab participated in the virtual Botany meeting with three lightning talks (Alex, Nan, and Ya) and two regular talks (Rebekah and Diego). Diego organized a colloquium on methods for processing target enrichment data. Diego and Ya, together with Stephen Smith, organized a phylotranscriptomics workshop. In addition, Ya served as a panelist in a career panel and helped with the CV review session. We all left inspired with many hours of talk recordings yet to watch!
- May: New NSF award on chromosome evolution in Drosera is funded! Rebekah developed and wrote the grant with help from Ya and Diego. It was quite an undertaking to put together a regular NSF grant. Congratulations, Rebekah!
- Mar: Rebekah wins the Graduate Student Research Award from the Society of Systematic Biologists and a Thesis Research Travel Grant from the University of Minnesota. Congratulations!
- Feb: Our NSF award on metabolite evolution in Caryophyllales is funded!
- Jan: Nan and Ya each gave a lightning talk at the Society of Systematic Biologists Standalone meeting in Gainesville, FL.
- Jan: Alex spent three weeks in Ecuador for the Tropical Field Botany course.
- Jun: Diego, Rebekah, and Ya attended the Evolution meeting in Providence, RI. Diego presented a talk on his Amaranthaceae phylogenomics project, and Rebekah presented a poster on chromosome evolution in Drosera.
- Rebekah is awarded a 10-month Fulbright Fellowship to work with Adam Cross at Curtin University, Perth, Australia!
- Oct: Delphine Tefarikis (from Prof. Gudrun Kadereit's lab) is visiting from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany. She is working with Diego Morales on reticulate evolution and C2 photosynthesis in Chenopods.
- Oct: Ya participated in the ADBC summit in Gainesville, FL, to kick start the Endless Form TCN project digitizing specimens from families with specialized adaptations such as carnivory, succulence, epiphytes, etc.
- Sep: Diego and Ya visited Mexico City for the Caryophyllales 2018 meeting; each gave a talk and co-taught a phylogenomic workshop with Mike Moore.
- Jul: We had a blast at the Botany meeting in Rochester, MN, with three talks (Mohn, Morales, and Yang) and one poster (Chen).
- Jul: Rebekah had a busy summer. After her OTS Tropical Plant Systematics course in Costa Rica, she collected Drosera in MT and ID.
- Jun: Diego and Chen presented their work at the Society of Systematic Biologists meeting in Columbus, Ohio.
- Jun: Rebekah won two awards from the Botanical Society of America: the Triarch Botanical Images Travel Award and the Karling Award, which supports the best graduate student research proposal. Congrats again!
- May: Rebekah won the American Society of Plant Taxonomists' t-shirt contest with a beautiful drawing of the twinflower (Linnaea borealis). She also won the Bell Museum Natural History Awards to support her summer field research. She just finished a week-long trip collecting Drosera on the East Coast. Congratulations!
- May: During spring break, Rebekah visited the University of Michigan to work with Stephen Smith on niche evolution in Drosera and participated in the Early Career Scientists Symposium.