The happy yeast buddies

IMG_1775-1Lab get together before the department Julbord in December 2022.  From left to right: Maria Celorio, Ciaran Gilchrist, Javier Pinto, Lorena Ament, Rike Stelkens. Not shown in the picture: Alex Rego, Jennifer Molinet and all the yeast lurking at us from the oak tree. 👀

Rike Stelkens (Associate Professor, Group Leader)


I am an evolutionary biologist interested in the generation and the maintenance of biodiversity. I study the effect of genetic exchange between populations and species on adaptation to environmental change. I have a fishy background but have now converted to the awesome power of yeast genetics.


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Maria de la Paz Celorio Mancera (Research Associate, Lab Manager)


Maria manages the lab and oversees different sequencing projects, but she also runs yeasty experiments, dissects tetrads, does bioinformatics, and a million other things.







Lorena Ament Velásquez (Independent Postdoc)

Lore is an evolutionary biologist interested in genome architecture and evolution, speciation, and biodiversity. Her background is in filamentous fungi and selfish genetic elements. In her international postdoc grant from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), she characterizes a special gene family aka fungal NOD-like receptors (NLRs). In addition to their normal function (e.g. vegetative incompatibility and fungal immunity), some NLRs have pleiotropic effects on sexual compatibility. Lore wants to explore any potential contribution of NLRs to the buildup of reproductive isolation between fungal species.


Javier Pinto (Postdoc)


Javier is a molecular ecologist, focused on the adaptive evolution of interspecific yeast hybrids – especially their capacity to adapt to new environments. He is also interested in the fungal biodiversity assessment of boreal and tropical forests. In his PhD, Javier investigated the importance of molecular mechanisms in the adaptation of different Saccharomyces species to cold temperatures, including the role of promoter and allele types.



Jennifer Molinet (Postdoc)


Jennifer is a microbiologist and biotechnologist interested in understanding the genetic and molecular basis of yeast adaptation to different environmental conditions. Previously, she has focused on the adaptation and generation of new of yeasts for fermentation processes. Jennifer is currently investigating the adaptive potential of naturally hot- and cold-adapted yeast species to high temperature stress (simulating global warming scenarios), using long-term experimental evolution and comparative genomics.


Alexandre Rêgo (PhD student)


Alex’s interests lie broadly in evolutionary biology and population genetics. His PhD research uses experimental evolution to describe the origin, dynamics, and outcomes of adaptation to novel environments. He is currently working on understanding how different sources of genetic variation shape the dynamics of adaptation.



Earlier lab pictures

IMG_8704August 2021 Lab Party! From left to right: Maria Celorio, Joao Frazao, Alex Rego, Devin Bendixsen, Rike Stelkens, Ciaran Gilchrist, Lorena Ament, Sofia de Beir. Missing from the picture is Noah Gettle, Javier Pinto (and my messy house). I wish I remembered the joke Ciaran was cracking.

IMG_0968September 2020: Out for a mushroom hunt in the forest north of Stockholm. The harvest was meager but the fun was plentiful! Missing from the picture are Maria and João.

548f0663-a2b7-49ec-91d4-7c2718cb6d98October 2019: On a lab outing in Skånsen (Stockholm’s open air museum). We are eight nationalities and counting! Yes, some of us (me) are holding the flag upside down…

IMG_0872March 2019: On our way to go curling!


Ciaran Gilchrist (PhD student)

Ciaran waterfall

Ciaran’s PhD focused on comparing the risks and benefits of hybridization for adaptation to changing and stressful environments. Ciaran graduated in Oct 2022.


João Frazão (PhD student)


João is an evolutionary biologist whose work in the lab focused on fitness landscape theory and hybridization.


Devin Bendixsen (Postdoc)


Devin is a bioinformatician specializing in computational genomics and empirical fitness landscape construction and analysis. His research interests range from mutational interactions and their effect on mutational pathways to genetic mechanisms underlying evolutionary adaptation. He mainly focused on understanding the role of hybridization in genetic adaptation to novel environments using comparative genomics.


Noah Gettle (Postdoc)


Noah is an evolutionary biologist. He is broadly interested in the origins of biological complexity with a focus on understanding how interactions within and between levels of biology (e.g. genomics, cell physiology, and cellular interactions) can generate complex phenotypes and constrain/expand evolvability.


Dragan Stajiç (Postdoc)


Dragan is interested in the molecular and cellular mechanisms affecting evolutionary processes including epigenetic mechanisms. Dragan worked on the evolution of antibiotic resistance and the molecular basis of phenotypic switching, a mechanism by which one genotype produces two distinct phenotypes, which may help adaptation to complex environments.


Zebin Zhang (Postdoc)


Zebin is a bioinformatician and molecular biologist. In our lab, he used ddRADseq and long read seq data from interspecific yeast hybrids to understand how hybrid genomes are assembled and selected under environmental stress, testing predictions of quantitative genetics with a special focus on epistasis. Zebin is also interested in the adaptive value of ploidy variation, and in detecting signatures of domestication in the genome.


 Claire Brice (Postdoc)


Claire is a microbiologist and biotechnologist interested in understanding genetic adaptation to changing and stressful environments.


Erik Zhivkoplias (MSc student)

2017 NIAID CFC event- Staff Portraits

Erik was a student from Uppsala University, doing his MSc project in our lab. Erik compared the performance of different methods and software tools to estimate selection coefficients, using time-series genomic data from different model systems (yeast, seed beetles, and stick insects).


Julie Grosse-Sommer (BSc student)

IMG_0195Julie did the lab work for her BSc thesis (officially at Maastricht University) in our lab. She measured fitness and ran direct competition assays between the strains coming out of Ciaran’s long-term evolution study.


Lara Beckmann (lab technician and MSc student)

Lara Beckmann

Lara was an undergrad student at Stockholm University.  She worked on the evolution of telomere length in yeast populations adapting to stressful conditions with Devin. Lara used experimental evolution, optical density measures, and a PCR-based approach. Also, Lara designed our lovely lab logo!



Viktoria Köppä (lab technician and MSc student)

Viktoria Köppa

Viktoria is an undergrad student at Stockholm University. She helped us out with lots of things in the lab, e.g. with fine tuning simple and complex stress environments, dissecting the tetrads of divergent yeast crosses and making media.


Pauline Caillault (Lab technician)


Pauline collected spore viability data and turned out to be an ace yeast tetrad dissecter. She also helped running short term evolutionary rescue experiments and making hybrid crosses.


Sofia de Beir (MSc student)


Sofia was a visiting MSc student in bioinformatics from the University of Minho (Portugal). Sofia developed pipelines to analyze the (hybrid) genomes coming out of Ciaran’s long term evolution experiments.