Josh is a Professor of Biology at the University of Texas at Tyler, as well as the Director of the Center for Environment, Biodiversity, and Conservation (CEBC). He 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 evolutionary genomics and ecology of imperiled species, as well as fundamental evolutionary genomics research. Curriculum vitae (PDF)
Jared earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees from UT-Tyler. He began working in the Banta Lab in the summer of 2019. He has worked on the ecology and genetics of imperiled freshwater mussels in East Texas, as well as on the ecology of crayfish habitats. Jared also teaches various courses for the Biology Department at UT-Tyler.
Schi is co-advised by Dr. Katrin Kellner. She earned her Bachelors degree in Biology from UT-Tyler in spring 2021. She is studying the population genetics of crayfish in East Texas, including the rare Bastrop Crayfish. She is interested in a wildlife management career.
Sarah earned her B.S. in Biology from UT-Tyler in 2018. During her undergraduate years, she is studied the genomics of production in the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium acetobutylicum. She completed her M.S. thesis in the Banta lab in spring 2020, where she studied the population genetics of two rare Texas freshwater mussels, the Texas Heelsplitter (Potamilus amphicaenus) and the Louisiana Pigtoe (Pleurobema riddellii). Sarah is now a Health Education Coordinator at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (UT Health). She is soon beginning a Ph.D. in Biology at the University of Texas at Arlington.
Ally worked in the Banta Lab from spring of 2014 until the fall of 2019. She worked on the conservation genetics of the federally endangered Texas wildflower Leavenworthia texana, as well as the population epigenomics of the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana.
Olivia worked in the Banta Lab in the fall of 2019, studying the population epigenomics of the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana.
Raul began worked in the lab in 2019, studying the population epigenomics of the the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana. He was chosen as a NSF Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Summer Research Academy Fellow for summer 2020, performing research in the Banta Lab on local crayfish species.
Shakevin (Star) Hightower
Star began working in the lab in the fall of 2018. She has worked on multiple projects, including the ecology of the Neches River Rose Mallow (Hibiscus dasycalyx), ecological niche modeling research on Texas freshwater mussels, the population epigenomics of the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana, and the ecology of rare Texas freshwater mussels.
Ava completed a B.S. in Environmental Sciences with an Aquatic Biology Focus and Chemistry minor from Oregon State University in 2014. She graduated with an M.S. in Biology from the Banta lab at UT Tyler in December 2019. Her M.S. thesis was on the distribution of two endemic freshwater mussel species in East Texas: Fusconaia askewii (TX Pigtoe) and Fusconaia lananensis (Triangle Pigtoe). She then worked as a wildlife biologist for the State of Florida studying freshwater mussels, and now she works in the same capacity for Central Michigan University.
Alex worked in the lab from the spring of 2019 to the spring of 2020, when he graduated. He was a NSF Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Summer Research Academy Fellow in the summer of 2019, working in the lab on the epigenomics of the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana, and he was selected to participate in the LSAMP Summer Research Academy Abroad program to continue his research at the University of Tübingen in Germany. He is now working as a lab technician for Astrix Techology Group on a COVID-19 vaccine. He is also applying to dental school.