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


Dr. Machado is interested in studying quantitative genetics and macroevolution, particularly in mammals. Starting his own lab at Oklahoma State University in January of 2023!

Mason is funded on an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology and is developing new phylogenetic comparative models for testing for ecophysiological constraints.

Katherine is interested in the relationship between functional morphology and macroevolution. Her current research explores the role of feeding mode in promoting morphological and kinematic diversification, and the exceptional diversity of reef fishes by integrating biomechanics, geometric morphometrics, and kinematic studies with phylogenetic comparative models of trait evolution.


Orlando is a macroevolutionary biologist who develops and uses software to answer questions about diversification (speciation, extinction, and their drivers). Beyond understanding the formation of biodiversity, his research has two main goals: to develop rigorous tests that ensure our inferences are correct, and to integrate biological knowledge from other fields into our inferences, in order to bridge the gap between micro- and macro-ecology and -evolution. Orlando is funded on an SNF Mobility Fellowship.


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.

Caleb is interested in computational phylogenetics and will be working on the Imageomics project. He received his undergraduate degree from Southeastern Louisiana University. Congrats to Caleb on receiving an NSF GRFP!

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.


Diego studies the comparative morphology and systematics of bees (Hymenoptera: Apoidea). He is particularly interested in morphology, trait evolution, and systematics of insects. I am also interested in ontology development and phylogenetic comparative methods in general. Currently a postdoc with S. Tarasov at the Finnish Museum of Natural History.

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

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

Samantha is interested in studing macroevolutionary processes in lizards.

Lia is interested in studing macroevolutionary processes.