Joe Bielanski


Joe is a PhD student in Kukekova lab through the Program in Evolution, Ecology and Conservation biology (PEEC). Joe joined the lab in the fall of 2022 after finishing up his undergraduate studies in Chicago, which included undergraduate research investigating mechanisms behind the onset of drug resistance in non-small cell lung carcinoma. Two years of animal care experience as an intern at a cat shelter peaked his interest in domesticated animals, and colors his approach to research as both an animal lover, and a proud biology nerd. Joe has wide ranging interest in the theory of evolution and its mechanisms at the genetic level, especially in regard to complex traits, such as behavior, that are important for both species management and our fundamental understanding of life itself. Joe is interested in investigating the genetic basis for tame behavior in domesticated species using foxes from the long-term farm-fox experiment as a model. He hopes to further understand the mechanisms that result in behavioral changes between domesticated/wild species, and look into why selection for tame behavior can result in morphological and physiological changes. He also is interested in the concept of selection for tame behavior existing outside of the context of domestication, and if the mechanisms are similar.

Hometown La Grange, IL
Degrees B.Sc., University of Illinois-Chicago, summa cum laude & departmental honors, 2022