Greg Ragland

Greg Ragland
Assistant Professor
Department of Integrative Biology
University of Colorado, Denver
Campus Box 171
Denver, CO 80217-3364
gregory DOT ragland AT ucdenver DOT edu

Greg Ragland
. I have been an assistant professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at CU Denver since 2016. When I am not immersed in bugs and data, I am usually wrangling my daughters, hiking, running, or cycling.



Shelly McCain. Shelly completed her PhD on fish behavioral ecology and plasticity in 2021 at the University of Alabama. She is currently working to test the hypothesis that genetic variants affecting rates of general development may be responsible for rapid evolution of seasonal phenology in the wild.


James Demayo. James completed his PhD on the evolution of life history trade-offs and plasticity in marine invertebrates at the University of Connecticut in 2021. He is currently investigating the evolutionary lability of thermally-sensitive transcription, including implications for the evolution of adaptive and maladaptive plasticity.

 Graduate Students


Joseph Tucker. Joe completed his BS in Integrative Biology at CU Denver in 2020, and started the MS program the same year. He is studying the influence of temperature on nascent transcription and the thermal limits of transcription.


Colin McSweeney. Colin completed his BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UC San Diego and recently joined the lab as a Masters student to study the influence of temperature on transcript birth and death rates (transcriptional dynamics). He is also interested in ecological and evolutionary responses to climate change, and has begun a project on overwintering in spruce bark beetles.

Undergraduate Researchers

Note: We’re short on undergraduates after needing to clear the decks during COVID shutdowns – hoping to repopulate soon, but for now our super-undergrad Jenna is holding down the fort.


Jenna Tomkinson. Jenna is funded by a university EURECA fellowship to study changes in gene expression across a major life history transition (metamorphosis in Drosophila melanogaster).

Lab Alumni



Jantina Toxopeus (website) was a postdoc in the lab from 2018 – 2020 studying the relationship between overwintering and thermal hardiness in several insect systems. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Biology at St. Francis Xavier University.


Eddy Dowle (website) was a postdoc in the lab from 2015 – 2017 studying local adaptation and population structure in the Mountain Pine Beetle and developmental transcriptomics of diapause regulation in apple maggot flies. She is currently a researcher at the University of Otago, and a recent winner of the prestigious Marsden award for early career researchers.

Graduate Students


Marianne Davenport (website) was a graduate student in the lab from 2018 – 2020 studying the life history and population dynamics of the spruce bark beetle, a major forest pest in western North America. She is currently working for the US Forest Service, based at the Fed center in Lakewood, CO.


McCall Calvert (Mac). Mac completed his MS at CUDenver in 2019. He studied the genomics underlying Rhagoletis pomonella seasonality and diapause. He is now a PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania.


Phil Freda. (website) worked in the Ragland lab starting in 2014 when we were based at Kansas State University. He completed his PhD on the genetics and ontogenetic flexibility of thermal hardiness at KSU in 2018, co-advised by Greg and Ted Morgan. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.


Lahari Gadey. I started my M.S. in the Ragland lab in August 2019, and will be working on trying to understand how flies (Drosophila spp.) regulate their gene expression to tolerate low temperatures. I recently completed my B.S. Biology at Temple University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and am looking forward to applying my background in entomology to cool molecular biology and physiology questions!


Lalitya Andaloori. Lalitya worked on the overwintering metabolism of rose flies (Rhagoletis basiola) distributed across altitudinal gradients in the Colorado Rockies.

Matin Sanaei. Matin studied how neurons develop in Rhagoletis brains. He’s currently applying to dental schools while finishing up his degree at CU Denver.

Isaiah Sower. Isaiah joined the lab in Summer 2019, and has dived head first into doing field work with Marianne on her favorite beetle pests.

Nooshin Sanaei. Nooshin was a technician with the Ragland lab from 2017 – 2018, working on all sorts of Rhagoletis projects and keeping the lab in order. She is currently in dental school at Midwestern University.

Adam Schieferecke was a summer research assistant who mined genomic and transcriptomic data for diapause candidate genes and worked with Phil on thermal physiology experiments in spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii). He earned a prestigious Barry M Goldwater scholarship and is currently a PhD student at UC Berkeley.

Evan Keep worked on gene orthology and comparative transcriptomics as a summer REU student. He has recently completed his BS and is now employed at LabAnswer.



Dan Hahn and Tom Powell (U. Florida), Jeff Feder and Mike Pfrender (Notre Dame), Barbara Bentz (USDA), Karen Mock (Utah State U.), Stewart Berlocher and Hugh Robertson (U. Illinois), Christian Stauffer (BOKU, Vienna). Photo credit: Hannes Schuler.