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Eckert Lab at Evolution 2017 held in Portland, OR

Current Members

Elena Meyer joined the lab in 2019 after receiving their B.A in Biology at New College of Florida. They are a PhD candidate in the Integrative Life Sciences program. Elena's work focuses on plant reproductive biology, selfing and mixed-mating systems, and the implications of anthropogenic climate change for angiosperms. They are also interested in science policy, data visualization and communication, and field botany.


Shruti Shrivastava joined the lab in Fall of 2023 as a M.S. student in Biology after earning her B.S. in Biology from VCU in 2020. Her research interests include evolutionary responses to climate change in populations, including quantification of maladaptation and predicting rates of responses to changing climates.

Andrew Eckert established the lab in the Department of Biology at VCU in 2011. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Biology working and teaching in the general area of evolutionary genetics. Prior to VCU, Andrew was a postdoctoral scholar at UC Davis. He obtained his doctoral degree from the University of Washington in 2006. His research interests include the evolution of local adaptation and its interplay with speciation.

Former Members

Justin Bagley was a postdoctoral scholar in the lab working as part of the larger NSF funded team addressing questions about the evolution of adaptive genetic variation in southwestern white pine (Pinus strobiformis). Justin's research interests include phylogeography, population genomics, species delimitation, and integrative taxonomy. He finished up in 2018 after which he was a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of Nathan Muchhala located at the University of Missouri - St. Louis. After working as an Assistant Professor of Biology at Jacksonville State University, Justin is currently an Environmental Scientist with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management.  

Brandon Lind completed his disseration about the evolutionary drivers of genetic diversity in tree populations in 2018. Brandon moved to a postdoctoral scholar position in the lab of Sally Aitken at the University of British Columbia. Currently, he is a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of Katie Lotterhos located at Northeastern University. 

Trevor Faske completed his M.S. thesis about the effects of temperature and genetic structure on patterns of local adaptation within populations of gypsy moth distributed along its southern range front in 2017. Currently, Trevor is a postdoctoral scientist with the USGS Southwest Biological Science Center after obtaining his doctorate at the University of Nevada, Reno (Parchman lab). 

Rebecca Piri joined the lab in 2017 as a M.S. student in the VCU Environmental Studies program. She completed her M.S. thesis in Biology about empirical patterns of genetic structure among northern stands of foxtail pine in August, 2019. Rebecca's research interests include population genetics, local adaptation, and environmental change. Currently, she is a doctoral student in the Integrative Life Sciences program at the University of Georgia.

Mitra Menon joined the lab in 2015 after completing her M.S. thesis at Texas Tech. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate working on the interplay between local adaptation and introgression in southwestern white pine (Pinus strobiformis) and limber pine (P. flexilis) as part of a larger Macrosystems grant funded by the NSF. Mitra's research interests include the evolution of phenotypic plasticity and the interplay between introgression and local adaptation in relation to species range dynamics. She finished her dissertation in 2020. Currently, Mitra is a postdoctoral scholar in the laboratory of Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra at UC Davis where she is studying transposable element evolution in maize. 


Alex Brown joined the lab in the Fall of 2019 as an M.S. student in the Biology program. He received his B.S. in Environmental Biology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) in 2016. Prior to joining the lab, he worked as an environmental health specialist. His research interests include species interactions, evolutionary adaptation, phylogenetics, and speciation. Alex finished his thesis in 2021.

Honorary Members


Erin Eckert is married to Andrew and is his best friend, confidant, and source of sanity. Currently, Erin is employed as a hospice nurse for Bon Secours. She is also an all around awesome human being. In her spare time, Erin enjoys cooking, wine, and making bread. Her research interests include home improvement methods, figuring out how to spend more time at the beach, and how to create the perfect sourdough loaf.

Charles (Charlie) Eckert is an active little dude who is into art, video games, and riding his bike. In his spare time, he enjoys daredevil stunts on his bike, playing baseball, and exploring The Legend of Zelda. He also loves puppies, his sisters, hiking, and his grandparents. His research interests include how to best optimize time spent playing his Nintendo Switch, perfecting the chicken nugget, and, of course, the evolutionary genetics of trees.


McGhee Eckert is the lab mascot and an overall great dog. He often also serves as an emotional support animal helping the lab PI navigate the ever-changing landscape of academics at VCU. In his spare time, McGhee enjoys naps, chew toys, and gentle strolls through the neighborhood to visit his friends. He is also rather fond of belly rubs.

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