Below you will find some basic information about current and alumni members of our lab.


Brenda Molano-Flores

Plant Ecologist

Ph.D. 1997. University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA (go Hawkeyes!!!)
Masters. 1991. University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, PR
Bachelor of Science. 1988. University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, PR


Sara Johnson

Plant Ecologist

Masters. 2021. University of Illinois: Urbana-Champaign
Bachelor of Arts. 2010. Niagara University

Research: Species Distribution Modeling, Reproductive Biology, Seed Ecology, Species Status Assessments, Floristic and Vegetation Monitoring


Interested in joining the lab? Find out more here


Janice Coons, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus, Eastern Illinois University

Research: Horticulture, Seed Ecology, Reproductive Biology, Breeding Systems

Mary Ann Feist, Ph.D.

Senior Academic Curator, Wisconsin State Herbarium, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Resident Scientists

Charles Helm

Research: I am the resident entomologist for the lab.

Citizen Scientists

Members of the East-Central Illinois Master Naturalist Program assist with different tasks in the lab.


Post Docs

Ian Pearse, 2014-2015

David Zaya, 2013-2014

Graduate Students
Cora Wessman
2022. Master in UI NRES (off-campus)
Eric Janssen
2022. Master in UI NRES
Sara Johnson
2021. Master in UI NRES 
Cate Wallace
2018. Master in UI NRES (off-campus)
Samantha Primer
2016. Master in UI Plant Biology
John S. Weedon
2016. Master in UI NRES (off-campus)
Katherine Chi
2014. Ph.D. in UI Plant Biology
Greg Spyreas
2014. Ph.D. in UI NRES
Michelle Pearion
2013. Master in UI NRES (off-campus)
Ayse Pogue
2013. Master in UI NRES (off-campus)
Jason Zylka
2013. Master in UI NRES
Danielle Ruffatto
2012. Master in UI Plant Biology
Marni Curtis
2012. Master in UI NRES (off-campus)
Adam Wallner
2010. Ph.D. in UI Entomology
Dan Elbert
2010. Master in UI NRES
Stephen Chu
2010. Master in UI NRES (off-campus)
Helen Mlynarski
2008. Master in UI NRES (off-campus)
Laura Roberts
2006. Master in UI NRES
Lynne Scott
2005. Master in UI NRES
Clark Danderson
2005. Master in UI Plant Biology
Christopher Mulvaney
2002. Master in ISU Biology

Undergraduate Students
Jacqueline Orozco
2017. UI Introductory Research
Catherine Jimenez
2017. UI Introductory Research
Lu Xia Yao
2017. FAFU (China)-UI Introductory Research/Independent Study
Nathan Stables
2015 – 2016. UI Independent Study
Whiyeon Cho
2015. UI Introductory Research – Rare Plants CCVI
Angelina R. Gerbas
2015. UI Introductory Research – Rare Plants CCVI
Hannah J. Hedinger
2015. UI Introductory Research – Rare Plants CCVI
Katherine F. Kucera
2015. UI Introductory Research – Rare Plants CCVI
Cealan Laffey
2015. UI Introductory Research – Rare Plants CCVI
Ka Ying Alice Ngu
2015. UI Introductory Research – Rare Plants CCVI
Andrew T. Blomberg
2015. UI Introductory Research – Rare Plants CCVI and Independent Study
Haolin Zeng
2014. National Great Rivers Research and Education Center-Summer Internship
Marialicia Chavez
2013. UI Career Empowerment Program-Summer
Margaux E. Leja
2011 – 2012. UI Introductory Research/Independent Study
Samantha J. Chavez
2011 – 2012. UI Volunteer/Independent Research
Dana O. Robinson
2011. Knox College McNair Fellow-Summer
Falon J. Dandridge
2011. UI Introductory Research
Hannah Grant
2011. UI Introductory Research
Ethan Kessler
2011. UI Volunteer
Michelle Collins
2010 – 2012. UI Introductory Research
Dalya Abou-El-Seoud
2010 – 2011. UI Introductory Research
Bridgette Moen
2010. UI Introductory Research
Kirtan Patel
2006 – 2007. UI Volunteer/Introductory Research
Cassandra Allsup
2003 – 2004. UI Independent Studies
Jason Zylka
1999. UI Volunteer/Independent Research