the schlenke lab
@ emory university

home | research | people | publications | resources | teaching | press | photos


Department of Biology
RRC room 1017
Emory University
1510 Clifton Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30322


Office and lab numbers

Office:   1017 Rollins Research Center
Phone:  404.727.0817
Lab:       1081 Rollins Research Center
Phone:  404.727.7019
Fax:       404.727.2880




Todd Schlenke, PI
Todd received his B.A. in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley
and his Ph.D. in Zoology from UT Austin.  He was a postdoc at
UC Davis and an NIH-NRSA postdoctoral fellow at Cornell
University.  He is now an assistant professor at Emory University. 
The Schlenke lab studies the evolutionary genetics of rapidly
evolving traits in Drosophila, such as immunity against pathogens
and resistance to insecticides.

Nate Mortimer, Postdoc
Nate received his B.S. in Biology and his Ph.D. in Genetics and
Molecular Biology from Emory University.  He is identifying and
characterizing parasitic wasp venom proteins, as well as
designing a genetic screen for identifying self-encapsulation

Kate Hutchence, Postdoc
Kate received her M.Biol.Sci. in Zoology from the University of
Sheffield and her Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology from the University
of Liverpool. She is using the Drosophila Genetic Referenece
Panel to map natural genetic variation in hemocyte load and wasp

Erin Keebaugh, Graduate Student
Erin received her B.S. in Genetics from UGA.  She is studying the
molecular biology and evolution of candidate genes in Drosophila’s
immune response against parasitic wasps.

Zach Lynch, Graduate Student
Zach received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Rochester. 
He is studying the role of sight and smell in the ability of fruitflies to
sense parasitoid wasps. His primary advisor will be Dr. Jaap de Roode.

Susanna Brantley, Undergraduate/Masters Student
Susanna is an undergraduate at Emory in the joint Biology Dept
BS/MS program. She is studying the role of the JAK/STAT signalling
pathway in the D. melanogaster immune response against parasitic

Josh Cutler, Undergraduate Student
Josh is an undergraduate at Emory. He is studying the natural
history of Drosophila melanogaster and the various parasites they
are infected by in nature.


Sophia Zhang, Lab Technician
Sophia received her B.S. in Sports Medicine from Xian University
and her M.S. in Information Technology from American
Intercontinental University.  She keeps the lab a well-oiled

Lab Alumni

  • Balint Kacsoh
    BS/MS student in the lab from 2009-2013 who worked on behavioral immune mechanisms flies use against wasps, the
    phylogenetic origins of melanotic encapsulation, and the evolution of parasitic wasp host ranges.
    Now a PhD student in molecular and cellular biology at Dartmouth.

  • Lindsey Fallis
    Postdoc in the lab from 2012-2013 who worked on D. melanogaster's transcriptional response to infection by several
    parasitoid wasp species, as well as the fitness consequences of trypanosome infection in flies.
    Now a postdoc at the USDA Center for Grain and Animal Health Research in Manhattan, KS

  • Lita Bozler
    Master's student in the lab from 2010-2012 who worked on the role of a transposable element insertion in Drosophila
    ' resistance against DDT and other insecticides.
    Now a PhD student in molecular and cellular biology at Dartmouth.

  • Neil Milan
    Graduate student in the lab from 2007-2012 who worked on the horizontal transfer of transposable elements
    between flies and their parasitic wasps, and the role of plant secondary compounds on fly immune competence.

  • Idrees Syed
    Undergraduate student who joined us for the Summer of 2010 from from UPenn to work on the energetic cost of
    immune responses against wasps.
    Now a research intern in neurology at the UPenn Department of Medicine.

  • Ethan Silverman
    Undergraduate at Emory who worked in the lab from 2008-2009 to generate visible mutations in wasps for use in
    genetic mapping.
    Now an MD student at Wayne State University in Detroit.

  • Amit Bery
    Undergraduate at Emory who worked in the lab from 2007-2010 to identify the pathogens that naturally infect
    D. melanogaster
    populations in the Atlanta area.
    Now an MD student at Washington University in St. Louis.

  • Mark Luskus
    Undergraduate student who joined us for the Summer of 2008 from Kenyon College as part of the Emory SURE
    program, to work on karyotyping wasps.
    Now a PhD student in molecular and cellular biology at UC Berkeley.

  • Cuong Nguyen
    Undergraduate student who joined us for the Summer of 2007 from Marta Wayne’s lab at the University of Florida to
    work on wasp venom gland microscopy.
    Now an MD student at UC San Diego.

  • Stephanie Weldon
    Undergraduate at Emory who worked in the lab from 2006-2007 as part of the SIRE program on developmental rates
    in wasps.
    Now a PhD student in entomology at the University of Georgia.

Joining the lab

Potential postdocs are encouraged to contact Todd.  We anticipate having funding for another postdoc, although
interested applicants should also be ready to apply for their own funding, such as the NIH NRSA and NSF fellowships.

Graduate students
Emory graduate students considering rotations and potential graduate students interested in coming to Emory
should contact Todd.  At Emory, professors live in departments while graduate students live in programs.  Todd is a
member of the Biology Department and is affiliated with the PBEE (population biology, ecology, and evolution) and
GMB (genetics and molecular biology) Programs, which are administered through the GDBBS (graduate division of
biological and biomedical sciences).  The application deadline for admission to Emory graduate programs occurs
around January 3rd of each year - the application page can be found here.

Undergraduate students
There are frequently positions available for undergraduate students to conduct research in the Schlenke lab. 
Potential undergraduate researchers should email Todd a description of their science background and interests
and should be able to contribute at least ten hours a week to the lab.

Emory has abundant resources and a great collaborative research environment.  The Schlenke lab takes advantage
of Emory’s DNA sequencing and proteomics core facilities, as well as the PBEE, GMB, and Biology Department
seminar series.  We are also part of  the Emory Fly Group (totaling about 10 labs, including our lab neighbor,
Yun Tao) and the Invertebrate Host-Parasite Interaction Club (which includes two other Emory professors working
on insect-parasite interactions, Nicole Gerardo and Jaap de Roode, as well as faculty from Georgia Tech).