Analisa Milkey

Analisa started in the Ph.D. program at UConn in August, 2021. She obtained her B.S. in Biological Sciences at the University of California, Davis, in June 2020. While at UC Davis, Analisa studied convergent evolution in morphology associated with transitions to selective zooplanktivory in butterfly fishes in the lab of Peter Wainwright.

Paul O. Lewis

Paul is a Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut. Although much of his professional training was in the area of flowering plant systematics, specifically the evolution and biogeography of the North American genus Polygonella, his research now focuses primarily on statistical phylogenetics theory and methodology.

Paul grew up in the Inner Bluegrass Region of Kentucky and obtained his B.S. in Biology and Mathematics from Georgetown College, Georgetown, KY, in 1982. He obtained his M.S. degree in Biology from the University of Memphis in 1984 (advisor: Edward T. Browne, Jr.), performing a floristic study of Haywood County, Tennessee. He earned a Ph.D. in Plant Biology from The Ohio State University in 1991 (advisor: Daniel J. Crawford).

Paul went on to do postdoctoral work at North Carolina State University (advisor: Bruce Weir; honorary advisor: Jeff Thorne), and in the Laboratory of Molecular Systematics, Smithsonian Institution (advisor: David L. Swofford).

He came to UConn after 3 years as an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM.

Former lab members

Suman Neupane

Suman started working toward his Ph.D. here in January, 2013, after completing much of his dissertation research at Old Dominion University. He completed his Ph.D. in December, 2016, and continued on at UConn for another year as a postdoctoral researcher in the lab.

He studies flowering plants related to the genus Hedyotis (family Rubiaceae, the coffee family), which those in the eastern United States will recognize as the small blue flowers known as bluets carpeting roadsides and lawns in early spring. Hedyotis has a wide global distribution, however, and, in addition to resolving the phylogeny and biogeography of this group, Suman is interested in the tendency of Hedyotis to evolve secondary woodiness in tropical montane islands, which mimics the evolution of secondary woodiness common in oceanic island systems.

After leaving UConn, Suman was a postdoctoral researcher in Josef Uyeda’s laboratory at Virginia Tech. Suman began a tenure-track position in the Biology Department at Murray State University in Fall 2020.

Karolina Fučíková

Karolina Fučíková obtained her Ph.D. in the UConn EEB department (advisor: Louise A. Lewis) on the systematics of chlorophyte green algae, and later took the leading role in acquiring, characterizing and analyzing green algal chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes for the GrAToL (Assembling the Green Algal Tree of Life) and collaborated with other Lewis lab members and statisticians in the UConn Statistics department on the Bayesian Phylogenetic Information Content project.

Karolina is now an Assistant Professor in Biology at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts. You can reach her at

Yu (Daniel) Fan

Daniel obtained his Ph.D. from UConn in 2011 with a dissertation entitled Bayesian phylogenetics, model selection, and methods of detecting non-independent and heterotachous molecular evolution. He obtained his undergraduate degree from the Ocean University of China in Qingdao, and Master’s degree in Molecular Systematics from the Institute of Oceanology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IOCAS).

After leaving UConn, Daniel was a postdoctoral researcher in Wenyi Wang’s lab at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

He is currently at Philips Research North America in Cambridge, MA. You can reach him at

Mark Holder

Mark was a postdoctoral research associate in the lab for 2 years. Mark received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin, in 2001, and moved on to a postdoctoral position with David Swofford (then at Florida State University) in 2003. He is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas. See Mark’s web site for more information.