Welcome Carleigh Engstrom to the Lab!

Carleigh Engstrom teaches biology at Biotech High School in Freehold, NJ and joins us as part of the Teach Revolution Progam.  The new program is focused on integrating evolutionary research into high school curriculums nationwide.  Supported by NSF BEACON, the Society for the Study of Evolution and Wiley Publishers, this program provides funding for teachers to spend the summer participating in research and then take that experience back to the classroom. Carleigh’s specialty is Molecular and Agricultural Technology and she is collaborating with us to study local population genetics in Striped Bass.  We are so happy to welcome her to our group.  Read more about the program here:

Congratulations, Graduates!

Congratulations to our 2018 Spring graduates– Bradley Kraft, Brian Reiss, and Anjali Tampay!   Brad will be starting med school in the fall, Brian will be starting a Master’s program, and Anjali will be applying to grad school.  Come back and see us soon.


Scholarship week in the Phifer-Rixey Lab

We had a busy Scholarship week this year!

Tiffany Longo and Brian Reiss were inducted to the Biology Honor’s Society Beta Beta Beta. Eligibility is determined by a strong academic record and a commitment to research. Congratulations!

Tiffany, Brian, and Sebastian Vera presented their research at the William Paterson Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Tiffany presented her research at the Summer Scholar’s Research Conference hosted by the Provost’s Office.

Brad Kraft shared his work on gene expression as part of the Honors College Thesis Symposium.

Anjali Tampy, Nikole Andre, Tiffany, Seb, Brad and Brian all presented their research at the School of Science Student Research Poster Session.

Katie Banfitch was honored with the Biology Departmental Service Award for her outstanding work as a supplemental instructor and as coordinator of our lab’s outreach project.

Now, we will all eat Pancakes for Parkinson’s and sleep!!




DNA Unraveled at Amerigo A Anastasia Elementary in Long Branch

We met a lot of promising young scientists today at AAA Elementary School today. Over 100 students joined us to extract DNA from strawberries and to talk about DNA, inheritance, and mutations. We were impressed by their enthusiasm for science and their knowledge of DNA. Thanks to all of the Biology Undergrad volunteers and to our sponsors,  the European Society for Evolutionary Biology, for making this possible!

DNA Unraveled at Kids at College Day

Katie Banfitch presented our DNA extraction workshop to 50 4th graders from Cheesequake NJ as part of Kids at College Day.  All of the BY424 Evolution students pitched in so that the kids could have a fun, hands-on experience.  Thanks to the European Society for Evolutionary Biology for sponsoring this workshop!

New research projects funded by the Urban Coast Institute

We are happy to announce that the Urban Coast Institute has funded our projects 1) using microsatellite data to determine the origins of local populations of Striped Bass collaborating with John Tiedemann and 2) testing methods for investigating historic populations sizes of Atlantic Sturgeon collaborating with Keith Dunton. Undergraduates Nikole Andre, Brian Reiss, and Anjali Tampy will be working on these projects. Come by and ask them about their work! Read more at:

DNA unraveled: Our first workshop at Wayside Elementary

We presented our first workshop at Wayside Elementary in Ms. Belasco’s First Grade Class. We had so much fun working and learning with the students. Thanks to Summer, Tiffany, Sarah, Koushik, and Arbaz for volunteering their time to help kick-off our project. Brian did a great job organizing. We are looking forward to coming back next spring to work with 4th grade classes thanks to support from the European Society for Evolutionary Biology.