People

Juli Carrillo
Assistant Professor

I am a community ecologist, evolutionary biologist and PI of the PIEE Lab! I completed my B.A. in Economics at Rice University in Houston, TX, with a focus on evolutionary game theory. I continued on at Rice in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program, completing a master’s thesis focused on insect mating behaviour in houseflies, and a Ph.D. examining the ecology and evolutionary biology of plant-herbivore-predator interactions in invasive and native populations of Chinese tallow tree. I then joined the Entomology department at Purdue University as a NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow, where I further examined the role of plant evolutionary history in multi-species interactions, focusing on wild-crop relatives in tomato, plant-soil feedbacks, and tri-trophic plant defense against herbivores. I love Texas BBQ, Indiana sweet corn, and BC berries!

Office MCML 333
Office phone (604) 827-5039
Email juli.carrillo[at]ubc.ca

 

Martina Clausen
She/Her

At the lab, I am the lab manager and research technician. My M.Sc. in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems focused on the evaluation of field margin habitats for wild bee conservation at the farm- and landscape-scale. Building on this research, I am continuing to work on studying biodiversity in agricultural landscapes through a project in Delta, BC. Besides pollinators, this project expands to include the effect of field margin enhancements on pest populations and their implications in adjacent fields. Before moving to Vancouver, I was working as an environmental engineer in Switzerland. I’m glad to be able to live my love for the outdoors to the fullest here. In my free time you will find me exploring the mountains on a snowboard, the ocean on a sailboat or the trails in Pacific Spirit Park on a horse.

Email mclausen[at]mail.ubc.ca

 

 

 

Matthew Mitchell
CSFS Research Associate

My research focuses on how to manage human-dominated landscapes, including agricultural and urban landscapes, for both people and nature. This includes understanding how the arrangement of different land uses and habitats across these areas affects ecosystem services and biodiversity, how to effectively quantify both the supply of ecosystem services and their demand by people, and identifying key management actions that can lead to win-win situations for multiple ecosystem services and biodiversity. I also lead the long-term biodiversity monitoring program at the UBC Farm and work to develop new tools to effectively monitor agricultural biodiversity on diversified farms and link this to key socio-ecological outcomes. I completed my Ph.D. at McGill University in 2014, a M.Sc. at the University of Alberta in 2006, and a B.Sc. (Honours) at the University of Victoria in 2002. Outside the office you can usually find me spending time outdoors with my two young children, playing ultimate frisbee, and gardening.

Email matthew.mitchell[at]ubc.ca

 

Quentin Geissmann
He (il)/Him

I landed in Vancouver on October 2018 to work as a postdoctoral fellow in collaboration with the PIEE lab and Dr. Cara Haney’s laboratory. I have always been fascinated by the diversity of life forms, and how different organisms have adapted to a wide range of constraints. Throughout my training as a biologist, I also developed a passion for open-source software which naturally led me to study computational biology, statistics, machine learning and engineering. These mixed interests led me to my Ph.D. (2014–2018) on the high-throughput analysis of sleep in insects – building machines to monitor flies in the lab and analyze their behaviours in real-time. For my postdoc, I wanted to take my knowledge of insect behaviour and machine learning to the field and address ecologically relevant questions. I am particularly interested in the development of image-based insect traps to characterize fine-scale population dynamics, and study how they are affected by multitrophic contexts. When I manage to stop myself from working, my favourite activities are crafting in the winter, and foraging the rest of the time.

Personal Website
Email qgeissmann[at]gmail.com
Twitter @qgeissmann

 

Di Wu 

I recently joined the PIEE lab as a new post-doc researcher in collaboration with our industry partner Renaissance. My research focuses on developing RNAi-based insecticides targeting the spotted wing Drosophila (SWD). My love for plant and agriculture stems from my childhood life at the countryside of Jingzhou county in Hubei, China. In August 2014, after completing my B.Sc. in Biology at the Northwest A&F University, I landed at Vancouver and began my Ph.D. program in plant genetics and pathology at the Botany department of UBC. Throughout my doctoral training (2014-2019), I studied plant defence mechanisms in the model plant Arabidopsis as well as in crop plants (mainly rapeseeds). I enjoy applied research as much as fundamental biology, passionate about applying research findings into designing effective and sustainable pest management schemes. In my spare time, I love reading, hiking, skiing and playing/watching basketball.

Email woodyhappyou[at]gmail.com
Twitter @DiWu96569752

 

 

 

하규백 Jimmy Kyu Baik Ha
He/Him

I am a Ph.D. student studying the effects of elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) on tomato-insect interactions. I spent my childhood years chasing after grasshoppers in the muddy rice patties of rural South Korea and have developed a love for nature and living things. As I aged and learned many things along the way however, I became aware of how much damage human activities inflicted on the environment, and how this could eventually put our future at risk. A rapid increase in CO2 due to human activities can influence the ability of crop plants, like tomatoes, to cope with pest insects and threaten sustainable agriculture. It is my goal to investigate the effects of CO2 on tomato anti-herbivore defense and contribute to protecting our food systems. As a food lover, I simply refuse to allow a world without tomatoes. I am also a passionate gamer, and you can find me on the glorious battlefields of the Koprulu sector or wandering the High Walls of Lothric.

Email hgbhgb01[at]mail.ubc.ca

 

 

Chelsea Gowton
She/Her

I am a Ph.D. student studying how plant domestication has affected plant interactions. I recently finished my MSc in Plant Science in the summer of 2019. My MSc research focused on using scents to disrupt host finding behaviour in Drosophila suzukii (Spotted Wing Drosophila), an invasive insect pest of small fruits. After finishing my BSc in Ecology from Susquehanna University, I spent some time as an intern at the MacArthur Agro-ecology Research Center in Lake Placid, Florida. Before moving to Vancouver, I worked in quality assurance at a brewery in Pennsylvania. In my spare time, you can find me with my dog on the local hiking trails, trying new recipes in the kitchen, or finding new DIY projects.

Email cgowton[at]mail.ubc.ca
Twitter @chelcereal

 

 

 

César Cabra

I’m a M.Sc. student in the Plant Science program. I did my BSc at the National University of Colombia, where I focused on pollinator beetles and ecosystem fragmentation. Currently, I’m working on how botanical derivatives may affect the trophic webs, especially insect survival and predatory performance. I have had the opportunity to lead and collaborate on diverse projects such as biodiversity inventories, insect biodiversity in intercropping systems, and biological pest management. In my spare time, I enjoy percussion, and I’m a Capoeira Angola performer.

Email cesar.cabra[at]alumni.ubc.ca

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Tsuruda
He/Him

I am a M.Sc. student in the Plant Science program. I completed my B.Sc. at UBC in Biology. I have long been interested in insects, biodiversity, and sustainable agriculture, which led me to my current project. I am interested in the ways that habitat enhancements affect insect biodiversity in agroecosystems. As agricultural intensification increases worldwide, natural habitat and biodiversity have seen declines which can result in increased occurrences of pest outbreaks. Of particular interest to me is the invasive spotted-wing drosophila, which causes tremendous damage to crops and threatens the livelihoods of many growers. I spend the majority of my free time skateboarding, hiking and playing video games!

Email tsuruda[at]mail.ubc.ca

 

 

 

 

Jennifer Lipka
She/Her

I am a new M.Sc. student in Integrated Studies in Land and Food Systems at the lab. My undergrad is a B.A. in Geography majoring in Environment and Sustainability. My academic interests are biogeography, GIS, and pollinators! Last summer I received an NSERC URSA to conduct collaborative research with our lab and the PCIGR to study how trace metal pollution is distributed across bumble bee populations in the lower mainland. I am interested in researching the relationships between plants and pollinators and how they are affected by environmental pollution, climate, and land use change. My favourite activities are gardening, snowboarding and eating chocolate!

Email jlipka00[at]mail.ubc.ca
Personal Website

 

 

 

Undergraduate Students

Sara Ng

I am a second-year undergraduate majoring in Geography and a Work Learn student. I help with insect annotations and maintaining insect colonies and plants for experiments. My academic interests include GIS, ecology, and marine biology and how these disciplines can be connected. I hope to actively serve my local community using the skills I learned over the course of my undergraduate degree. In my spare time, I play piano, practice karate, bake, and fawn over cats.

Yuma Baker
She/Her

I am an Applied Biology undergraduate student majoring in Sustainable Agriculture and Environment. I am a summer Work Learn student contributing to a literature review on circadian ecology in arthropods. My interests are in ecology, and its application to agricultural sciences and practices, especially how a better understanding of ecosystems can improve pest management. I also love gardening and sharing our knowledge of growing food, playing piano and chocolate cake.

Melody Fu
She/Her

I recently graduated with a B.Sc. in Applied Plant and Soil Sciences and joined as a summer Work Learn student. I am interested in studying the interactions between plants and soil organisms like fungi (i.e. plant communication through mycorrhizal networks). My goal is to attend grad school to study chemical ecology (e.g. metabolomics). I like hiking, getting 9-10 hours of sleep, and drinking tea (tea is love, tea is life).

Sadie Larter H.
She/Her

I am a fourth-year B.Sc. student majoring in Biology. My academic interests include entomology and how climate change impacts ecosystems. I’ve joined the lab as a Work Learn student and I am excited to learn more about research techniques and the research process while assisting with several projects. In my free time you can find me baking bread or looking for cats to befriend in my neighbourhood.

 

Former Students

Audrey Debonnel
Visiting M.Sc. Student (2018)

Kathy Ma
NSERC USRA Student (2018)

Carmen Wong
Undergraduate Research Assistant (2018)

Li Xiao
Visiting Ph.D. Student (2017)

Derrick Chong
Undergraduate Research Assistant (2017)

Xiaohong Li
Visiting Ph.D. Student

 

Former Lab Technicians

Sadie Garcia

Aldona Czajewska