Our lab uses the migratory monarch butterfly to study animal migration, the role of circadian clocks in regulating animal physiology and behavior, and the evolution of the animal clockwork.

Most recent news


  • The lab receives funding from the NSF to study the epigenetic regulation of seasonal behavior. Can't wait to get started on this project...(05/18) 

  • Our circadian work on the monarch butterfly was recognized at SRBR by the 2018 Junior Faculty Research Award to Christine Merlin. What a great honor and good day for monarchs. Many thanks! (05/18) 

  • Congratulations to Ashley Hayden for winning a 2018-2019 Astronaut Scholarship and joining an elite group of undergraduates with outstanding promise in research. (05/18) 

  • Congratulations to graduate students Sam Iiams for her 2018 International Society for Research on Biological Rhythms (SRBR) Patricia DeCoursey Research Excellence Award and to Aldrin Lugena for his 2018 SRBR Trainee Research Merit Award. Sam nailing her first big talk was a very proud moment for the lab! (05/18) 


The monarch butterfly offers unique opportunities to provide mechanistic insights into these questions because monarchs perform one of the most impressive long-distance migration, they rely on their circadian clock for navigation, and we now have the capability to apply genomic and reverse-genetic approaches to identify candidate genes and test their function in vivo. The directions that our research program is taking us can be found in greater details in the Research section.


We are part of the Center for Biological Clocks Research, which provides fantastic opportunities for training in circadian biology. Applicants interested in joining a dynamic group are invited to look at our open positions here.

  • Sam Iiams brings home yet another poster prize from the Texas Society for Circadian Biology and Medicine meeting. Well done, Sam. (03/18) 

The lab is grateful to the following sources for supporting our work:

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