Erica Larson, PhD

Principle Investigator

When I look at biological diversity, I see dramatic variation in male and female reproductive traits. I want to understand how interactions between males and females - both cooperative and antagonistic - shape the evolution of reproductive traits and contribute to the origin of species. I am also an avid gardener and enjoy running, hiking, skiing, and camping in the front range. Follow me on twitter: @ericallarsonCV

Office: BW 302, (303) 871-3694


Dhaval Vyas, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Dhaval spends countless hours asking questions about animal behavior. He's currently expanding his skill set by examining the ecological immunology and genetics of the fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea). He studied primate cognition for his BA in animal behavior at Bucknell University, then switched to African elephant behaviors for his MS in biology at Georgia Southern University and finally downsized to investigating the behavioral ecology of parasitic wasps for his PhD at Colorado State University. Desired distractions from work include birding, boxing, cooking, craft beers, and traveling.


Amy Byerly

PhD Student

After years of not being able to decide what she wanted to be when she grew up and experimenting with a few different careers, Amy returned to her first love of evolutionary biology. She earned a BS in biology with minor focus in chemistry and anthropology from Metropolitan State University of Denver. Amy is now a PhD student in the Larson Lab at the University of Denver whose broad interests include sexual selection, hybridization, and speciation. When not working on research or with students, she spends time with her two children and neurotic Corgi.


Kelsie Hunnicutt

PhD Student

Kelsie is broadly interested in mammalian evolution and hybridization. Her projects center on the evolution of spermatogenesis in rodents and population dynamics of cottontails. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Virginia working with Dr. Deborah Roach, then worked for three years in Dr. Anne Yoder’s lab at Duke University as a Research Associate. She enjoys hiking, camping, baking, and petting other people’s dogs. Follow Kelsie on twitter: @kelsiehunnicutt.



Brooke Washburn, MS

PhD Student

Brooke is interested in the forces that dictate gene flow within and between species, and how those forces can contribute to evolution. She is particularly interested in how gene flow is structured in a spatial context. As an undergraduate she studied at Morehead State University where she researched dispersal in Kentucky fishes. She then went on to do her master’s at Austin Peay State University where her thesis focused on the spatial genetic structure and conservation genetics of an endangered darter. Outside of the lab she enjoys hiking, reading comics, and relaxing with her two cats. Follow Brooke on twitter: @b_a_washburn.



Clara Jenck, MS


Clara completed both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at the University of Denver working with Dr. Robin Tinghitella and is now a research technician in the Larson Lab. She is interested in population genomics and the mechanisms that underly evolutionary change. She is often assisted by her trusty sidekick and lab dog, Summer. Follow Clara on twitter: @ClaraJenck



Undergraduate Researchers


Uma Knaven

Undergraduate research assistant, Honors Program

Uma is an undergraduate student working with the Larson Lab. Her work is focused on population genetics and DNA sequencing of several cricket species. She is working toward a BS in Biology, a minor in French, and a minor in Chemistry. Uma is also a member of the University of Denver Swim and Dive team, and her interests include learning languages, cooking new foods, hiking Colorado mountains, and going to the beach with her dogs.


Other Team Members



Kulshan has been with the Larson Lab since the beginning. His research interests are vague, but he is happy to go on car rides to collect crickets.