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About Us

We are located at the Odum School of Ecology at the
University of Georgia in Athens, GA.

Link to Altizer Lab website

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Julia Berliner, Kate Kearney, Emilee Story, and Sonia Atizer representing the Project Monarch Health team

Current Members

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Sonia Altizer

UGA Athletic Association Professor of Ecology

Sonia is the head of our research program on monarch parasites. She is a professor at the Odum School of Ecology at UGA. She has been studying monarchs and their parasites for the past 15 years.

Alexa Watson holding an outreach monarch butterfly at Insectival

Alexa Watson

Undergraduate Researcher

Alexa is an undergraduate Ecology Major from Suwanee. She is very passionate about environmental education, and hopes to pursue a career working with ambassador animals. In her free time, she enjoys photography, gaming, and spending time with her pets.

Julia Berliner, Research Professional at Project Monarch Health and in the Altizer Lab

Julia Berliner

Research Professional

Julia received her MS in Entomology in 2022 from UGA, where she studied how insect food webs respond to nutrients in the soil. Now, she oversees work in the lab, such as processing samples sent in by volunteers, rearing monarchs, running experiments, leading virtual lab tours with classrooms, and creating the newsletter. In her free time, you can find Julia out dancing or on a nature walk.

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Christopher Brandon

Undergraduate Researcher

Christopher is an undergraduate Biology and Ecology major with a Spanish minor from Athens. He is interested in studying the intersection of environmental health and infectious disease. He enjoys weightlifting and playing tennis.

Isabella G. Ragonese

Isabella G. Ragonese

Graduate Student Researcher

Isabella is a PhD student investigating the effects on temperature on the monarch-OE interaction. She is involved in Monarch Health outreach and plans to use data collected by citizen scientists in her research.


Amitesh Anerao

Undergraduate Researcher

Amitesh is an undergraduate Biology major from Johns Creek. He plans to attend medical school and is currently studying for the MCAT. He enjoys weightlifting and playing tennis.

Lab Alumni

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Kade Donaldson

Lab Alumni '22

Kade has recently graduated from UGA with a BS in Environmental Health Science and a minor in ecology. He has accepted a position as Research Professional/Lab Manager. He plans to study the effects of climate change and pollution on the environment.


Jaycee Quinn

Lab Alumni ‘21

Jaycee graduated in 2021 with a BS in Biology with a minor in Public Health. She is currently pursuing an MPH at University of Colorado in Boulder. She is interested in studying infectious disease dynamics. 

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Ashley Ballew

Lab Alumni ‘21

Ashley is pursuing a M.S. in Ecology and originally joined the team as an undergraduate researcher. Her thesis will focus on nectar quality and the effects on monarch flight and disease.

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Cecilia Nachtmann

Lab Alumni ‘19

Cecilia graduated from UGA in 2019 and is now working for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources in Atlanta as a member of their outreach and education team.


Stuart Sims

Lab Alumni ‘16

Stuart works for a group of nonprofits called The Family Resource Center Association based in Denver Colorado. He manages a shared database system among 29 partnering resource families that provide a variety of services to families in need across the state.

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Emilie Morris

Lab Alumni ‘15

After graduating in 2015 with dual degrees in Ecology and Biology, Emilie hiked the Appalachian Trial and interned at UGA's Costa Rica Campus as a naturalist and educator. Emilie is currently applying to medical school and plans to matriculate in the fall of 2018.


Jennifer Kukharchuk

Lab Alumni ‘13

Jennifer is a UGA graduate with a bachelor's in Biology. She is interested in understanding mechanisms of immune responses to pathogen infections and how we use technology to monitor and combat diseases.


Han Nguyen

Lab Alumni ‘13

Han graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor's in Biology. She worked on the Monarch Health Team from 2012-2013.


Caroline Aikins

Lab Alumni '22

Caroline is pursuing a M.S. in Ecology and is interested in researching monarch behavior and orientation. She is from Forsyth county, Georgia and she assists in experiments and processing samples. 


Jonathan Schulz

Lab Alumni ‘21

Jonathan is an undergraduate Biology major. He plans to attend medical school in the future.


Cody Prouty

Lab Alumni ‘21

Cody is a graduate student pursuing a M.S. in Ecology and originally joined the team as an undegraduate researcher. His thesis is focusing on neonicotinoid effect on monarch development and flight.


Kendall Alsup

Lab Alumni ‘18

Kendall Alsup is an undergraduate student majoring in biology and psychology with hopes of attending medical school in the future. She is currently studying to take her MCAT.

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Dara Satterfield

Lab Alumni ‘16

Dara is a Ph.D. graduate who studied how animal migrations can affect infectious disease transmission and evolution in wildlife. Dara is now a J Post-doctoral Fellow at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


Sherayar Orakzai

Lab Alumni ‘15

Sherayar is originally from Glendale, Arizona and graduated with a B.S. in biology from UGA. He is currently preparing to enter medical school. Sherayar helped manage and process samples for Monarch Health. His research interest lies in disease ecology.


Andy Davis

Lab Alumni ‘10

Andy graduated with a PhD at UGA in the Wildlife Ecology and Management Program in the Warnell Forestry School. He contributes to numerous papers on OE.

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Michael Maudsley

Lab Alumni ‘12

Michael is an expert on butterfly ecology who worked as a lead research professional with the Altizer lab from 2007 to 2012. Michael also worked in the de Roode lab at Emory University. His degree in Entomology is from the University of Georgia.


Paola Barriga

Lab Alumni ‘21

Paola Barriga is a Post-doctoral Researcher & Teaching Associate at the Odum School of Ecology. Paola co-directs Monarch Health and has five years of experience working with monarchs and OE. Paola enjoys mentoring undergraduate researchers and working with volunteers.

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August Anderson

Lab Alumni ‘21

August is an undergraduate Ecology major. He has taken his MCAT and plans to attend medical school in the future.


Hayley Schroeder

Lab Alumni ‘19

Hayley graduated in 2018 with a BS in Ecology. She is now pursuing a PhD in entomology at Cornell University.


Ian Yeager

Lab Alumni ‘17

Ian is currently attending medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.


Michael Holden

Lab Alumni ‘16

Since graduating Michael has worked several research technician jobs. He is currently working as an AmeriCorps member at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island studying the resident population of Eastern Box Turtles

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Henry Adams

Lab Alumni ‘15

Henry Adams is a graduate of the Odum School of Ecology who takes particular interest in conservation ecology and scientific illustration and how one can be used to enhance the impact of the other. He is currently a research technician at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.


Jaap de Roode

Lab Alumni ‘07

Jaap is a former post-doc in the Altizer lab and is now an assistant professor at Emory University. He also studies OE parasites and contributes to the Monarch Health project.

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Hannah Blakeslee

Lab Alumni ‘13

Hannah is a graduate from UGA with a bachelor's in Microbiology. She contributed to the Monarch Health project in 2012-2013.

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