People

Join the Sharp Lab

The lab is an inclusive and safe space. Members of under-represented groups are encouraged to apply. Science is for Everyone!

The lab can potentially take on graduate students through the following graduate training programs:

Genetics Graduate Training Program

Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Program (CMB)

Integrative Biology Graduate Program

Microbiology Doctoral Training Program (MDTP)

Nathaniel Sharp

Position title: Assistant Professor

Nathaniel earned his PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto, and trained as a postdoc at the University of British Columbia. He is broadly interested in evolutionary genetics, and particularly the causes and consequences of mutation.

Denise Smith

Position title: Research Specialist

Denise earned a B.S. degree in biology (UW-La Crosse) and a master’s degree in Plant Pathology (UW-Madison). She has worked with fungal and viral plant pathogens of many plant species, but predominantly pathogens of trees. She is interested in evolution of fungal resistance to fungicides and how fungi evolve to maintain pathogenicity. In her spare time, Denise likes to garden, hike, and cross-country ski.

Kevin Bao

Position title: PhD student

Kevin is a Genetics graduate student interested in studying the impact of mutation on fitness and more generally in understanding the mechanisms of evolution. He has a background in both population genetics and organismic biology having done work on characterizing surface protein evolution in the malaria parasite P. falciparum under Dr. Dan Hartl and understanding elusive elements of the life history of parasitic ascomycota Laboubeniales with Dr. Don Pfister. Kevin is also extremely interested in STEM outreach and education and in his spare time coaches local students for the Science Olympiad Competition.

Rob Melde

Position title: PhD Student

Rob is a PhD student in the department of Integrative Biology who is interested in studying the patterns of mutation and how those patterns might/will change due to climate change. He has a background in mutation accumulation studies as well as other experimental evolution in C. elegans. He previously studied under the guidance of Dr. Vaishali Katju and Dr. Ulfar Bergthorsson at Texas A&M University where he earned a B.S. in Biochemistry and Genetics.

Madison Castle

Position title: Undergraduate Researcher

Madison is a sophomore majoring in Genetics and getting a certificate in Health and the Humanities. She hopes to pursue a career in the medical field one day that combines what she learns in medical school with her degree in Genetics. She is involved in campus with the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children and is a certified EMT.

Atharva Dhamale

Position title: Undergraduate researcher

Atharva is a sophomore majoring in Cellular and Molecular Biology. He wants to peruse a career in the field of Quantum Biology.

Aaron Esker

Position title: Undergraduate Researcher

Aaron is a sophomore undergraduate student majoring in Genetics and Genomics along with a Certificate in Business. Outside of studying, Aaron is an active member in the Undergraduate Genetics Association and loves to be outdoors. After college, he plans on pursuing a career in the biotechnology industry.

Molly Fjalstad

Position title: Undergraduate researcher

Molly is a sophomore undergraduate student majoring in Biology and is pursuing a certificate in Global Health. She is involved in Wisconsin Pre-Medical Society and is a certified CNA. She hopes to have a career in the medical field.

Caitlin Kestell

Position title: Undergraduate Researcher

I’m a sophomore studying Genetics and Environmental Science. I hope to someday earn my PhD and work in research and academia. I’m a member of the Distinguished Lecture Series here on campus and I love cats.

  • Caitlin is studying abroad for a semester. Have fun Caitlin!
  • Caitlin received a Genetics and Genomics Distinguished Research Fellowship for her work in the lab. Congrats!

Maryn Ugolini

Position title: Undergraduate researcher

Maryn is a sophomore undergraduate student majoring in Genetics and Genomics and is pursuing a certificate in Global Health. She is involved on campus with the Undergraduate Genetics Association, MEDLIFE, and Badger Volunteers. She hopes to have a career in genetic counseling.

Elizabeth Makovec

Position title: Undergraduate researcher

Elizabeth is a sophomore undergraduate student double majoring in Psychology and Genetics & Genomics. She is involved in NAMI-UW. She aspires to have a career in either genetic counseling or genetics research.

Anusha Mehendale

Position title: Undergraduate researcher

Anusha is a junior double majoring in Genetics and Genomics, and Legal Studies. She hopes to pursue a career in Bioethics and also wishes to be an active participant in the flourishing research in Genetics.

Kayla Janke

Position title: Undergraduate researcher

  • Kayle received a Genetics and Genomics Distinguished Research Fellowship for her work in the lab. Congrats!

Neil Braker

Position title: Undergraduate researcher

Neil is a junior undergraduate student majoring in Genetics and Genomics. He is a part of the Wisconsin Pre-Medical Society and hopes to go on to medical school after his undergraduate degree. Neil is an avid sports fan and wants to become an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports-related injuries.

Logan Williams

Position title: Undergraduate researcher

I am a Junior majoring in Genetics & Genomics with a certificate in Human Development and Family Science. After completing my undergraduate degree I plan on getting my masters to pursue a career as a Genetic Counselor. I am most interested in understanding and researching mutations, as my family was diagnosed with a rare mutation called Lynch Syndrome. In my free time I like to watch sports, go outside, and/or spend time with my labradoodle, Koda!

Nicole Lacke

Position title: Undergraduate researcher

I am a sophomore studying genetics hoping to become a genetic counselor. On campus I am involved in a pre-genetic counseling organization and cheese club! In my free time I love to be outside, spend time with friends and family, and travel!

Alexandra Chan

Position title: Undergraduate researcher

Shaelyn Mullins

Position title: Undergraduate researcher