Individuals who are interested in joining the lab are encouraged to contact Josh.

Principal Investigator




Josh Banta
Josh received his B.S. in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000 and his Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Stony Brook University in 2008. He worked as a post-doctoral research associate in the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology at New York University from 2008 - 2011. Josh’s research interests center on the ecology, evolution, and genomics of plant life histories in fluctuating and changing environments. Curriculum vitae (PDF)

Graduate Students



David Besh
Originally from Anchorage, AK, David began his graduate studies in the Banta lab in fall 2017. He is studying the ecology of two imperiled Texas freshwater mussel species -- TX pigtoe (Fusconaia askewii) and Triangle Pigtoe (F. lananensis). David obtained his B.S. from Montana State University and has previously worked at the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, TX, as well as at various wildlife management jobs in Alaska.

Research Assistants




Megan Seawright
Megan is pursuing her B.S. in Biology from UT-Tyler. She has been working in the lab since 2016 on the genetics and genomics of the 
the Neches River Rose Mallow (Hibiscus dasycalyx). She was a Lois Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) summer research fellow during the summer of 2016, and she also received a SSE/BEACON Undergraduate Diversity at Evolution travel award to attend the Evolution meetings in Austin, TX. Megan will also be doing ecological niche modeling research on Texas freshwater mussels.


Alyssa Blanton
Alyssa is pursuing her B.S. in Biology from UT-Tyler. She has been working in the lab since 2016 on various projects relating to two endemic Texas wildflowers of conservation interest: the Neches River Rose Mallow and the Texas Golden Gladecress (Hibiscus dasycalyx and Leavenworthia texana). She was a Lois Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) summer research fellow during the summer of 2017. Alyssa will also be doing ecological niche modeling research on Texas freshwater mussels.

Alumni



Julia Norrell
Julia earned her B.S. in Biology, with emphasis in plants, from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in May 2015. She worked in Dr. Patrick Larkin's lab on the population genetics of the sea grass Halodule wrightii. She graduated with an M.S. in Biology from the Banta lab at UT Tyler in May 2017. Her M.S. thesis focused on using genomics to distinguish closely related Hibiscus species, including the federally threatened Texas endemic Neches River Rose Mallow (Hibiscus dasycalyx).
En Tze Chong
En Tze is broadly interested in conservation as an over-arching theme to his studies. He worked on various projects in the lab from 2014 - 2016, including epigenetic effects on flowering time in Arabidopsis thaliana, the genetics and ecology of Texas endemic wildflower species, and the ecology of Texas freshwater mussels. He also spent three months in Belize in summer 2016 performing floristics research for the Banta lab.


Katherine Barthel
Kathy is finishing her B.S. in Biology from UT-Tyler. She has been worked in the lab from 2014 - 2016 on the genetics and ecology of two endemic Texas wildflowers of conservation interest: the Neches River Rose Mallow and the Texas Golden Gladecress (Hibiscus dasycalyx and Leavenworthia texana). She is interested in a research career in conservation or applied biology. In 2018, she will be starting her MS degree at UT-Tyler in Marnie Rout's lab.


Jamie Williams
Jamie is pursuing her undergraduate degree in Biology from UT-Tyler. She was a Lois Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) summer research fellow during the summer of 2014, where she worked on the genetics of the federally endangered Texas endemic wildflower Leavenworthia texana, the Texas Golden Gladecress.


Melody Sain
Melody received her B.S. in Biology from the University of Tennessee at Martin in May 2013. She earned her M.S. in Biology from UT-Tyler in summer 2015. Her thesis work focused on the taxonomic status and distribution of the threatened Texas endemic wildflower Hibiscus dasycalyx. She was recognized for having the best student poster at the Society for Ecological Restoration meetings in 2014. Melody is pursuing a Ph.D. in Botany in Dr. David Baum's lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Jazmin Reese
Jazmin graduated with a B.S. in Biology from UT-Tyler in May 2015. She worked in our lab during her senior year on genome-wide and candidate gene mapping of root morphological traits in Arabidopsis thaliana. This work is in collaboration with the Corruzi lab at New York University.


Jennifer Parks
Jennifer graduated with a B.S. in Biology from UT-Tyler, with secondary school certification, in May 2015. She is now a teacher in the public school system. She worked in our lab from May 2013 - May 2015, on projects with Arabidopsis thaliana involving non-additive ("epistatic") genetic effects on flowering time. She was a Lois Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) summer research fellow during the summer and fall of 2013, and she has a Nature Communications paper from her work in the lab.


Raul Estevez
Raul is received his B.S. in Biology from UT-Tyler in 2017. He worked in our lab from May 2013 - May 2014 on a variety of different projects involving the growth, development, genetics, and phenotyping of Arabidopsis thaliana.


Justin Dalrymple
Justin received his B.S. in Biology from Boston College. Previously he worked as a laboratory technician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, studying immunoassays. Justin earned his M.S. in Biology from UT-Tyler in summer 2014. His thesis work focused on the genetic basis of tolerance to apical meristem damage in Arabidopsis thaliana. He now works as a laboratory technician in Zachary Lippman's lab at Cold Spring Harbor Lab.






Miles Mesa
Miles graduated with a B.S. in Biology from UT-Tyler in May 2013. He worked in our lab from August 2011 - June 2013, on projects with Arabidopsis thaliana involving (1) the genetic basis of tolerance to apical meristem damage, and (2) epistatic effects among flowering time loci on architectural and life history traits. He was a Lois Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) summer research fellow during the summer and fall of 2012. Miles is pursuing a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution in Dr. Ken Paige's lab at the University of Illinois. He is an IGERT fellow (NSF interdisciplinary training program) in the research area of plant-herbivore interactions. He is testing whether two strategies of plant defense against herbivory, tolerance and resistance, are genetically and molecularly intertwined, which is directly related to the projects he worked on during in the Banta lab.


Melecio Silva
Miles graduated with a B.S. in Biology from UT-Tyler in May 2013. He worked in our lab from August 2011 - June 2013, on projects with Arabidopsis thaliana involving (1) the genetic basis of tolerance to apical meristem damage, and (2) epistatic effects among flowering time loci on architectural and life history traits. He was a Lois Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) summer research fellow during the summer and fall of 2012.