Principal Investigator

I am an Assistant Professor in Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech. My background is in herpetology, quantitative genetic modeling, systematics and phylogenetic comparative methods.

Curriculum Vitae

Office: 4076 Derring Hall


I study the comparative morphology and systematics of bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). I am particularly interested in morphology, trait evolution, and systematics of insects. I am also interested in ontology development and phylogenetic comparative methods in general.

Dr. Machado is interested in studying quantitative genetics and macroevolution, particularly in mammals.

Graduate Students

Nic is a PhD Student primarily interested in trait evolution and how patterns seen in the macroevolutionary scale may help in uncovering the mechanisms of evolution throughout the tree of life. He hopes to apply interesting and novel comparative solutions to different systems; not only to observe patterns but also to examine and understand their causes.
Congrats to Nic on receiving an NSF GRFP!

Bailey is interested in how humans influence evolution and drive adaptation in functional traits. She is particularly interested in using phylogenetic comparative methods to investigate how organisms’ evolutionary history can elucidate or influence their responses to anthropogenic changes.

Eliza is interested interested in the evolution of thermal adaptations and tolerance in Mammals and Reptiles, especially understanding how animals will either adapt or go extinct under Climatic change.

Former Lab Members

Sergei is an entomologist and evolutionary biologist who now works at the Finnish Museum of Natural History. His research addresses one of the major challenges in biology - understanding the evolutionary processes that shaped the stunning diversity of organismal forms on Earth. He uses an interdisciplinary approach that involves dung beetle systematics, statistical modeling, and development of new computational tools.


Suman studies the plant genus Hedyotis L. and its allies from the large tropical Coffee family (Rubiaceae). He is interested in studies related taxonomy, evolution of morphological traits, and phylogenetics & comparative methods in plant systems. (Now an Assistant Professor at Murray State University in Fall of 2020). website

Sean is interested in trait evolution and diversification across the tree of life, with a particular soft spot for herps. His Masters work used ecological niche models to determine the evolutionary history of hydric and thermal preferences relative to elevation in Southern Appalachian Plethodontid salamanders. Sean is currently a PhD student in the lab of Michael Landis at WUSTL.

Emma worked as an undergraduate and post-bacc researcher on projects involving salamander and squamate physiological evolution. Emma is currently pursuing her Masters at George Mason University in the lab of Dr. Ylenia Chiari.

Undergraduate Students

Anna is assisting our work on primate dental evolution and other projects.

Kaine is working on simulating traits using phenotypic ontologies.

Colin is assisting our work on the evolution of bird migration.

Samantha is interested in studing macroevolutionary processes in lizards