noa+poppy_fieldNoa Pinter-Wollman

Associate Professor
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of California, Los Angeles
nmpinter [at] ucla [dot] edu



Julie Miller (2017-)

Julie is a behavioral ecologist interested in the causes and consequences of sociality, particularly when societies transition from cooperative groups into superorganisms. She received her PhD in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University, where she studied group raiding behavior in slave-making ants and built evolutionary models of cooperation and collective action. Her postdoctoral work will continue in this vein by investigating the consequences of colony size evolution on interaction networks.

julieserena [at] ucla [dot] edu

 Natalie Lemanski (2018- )

Natalie is an evolutionary theorist, interested in the evolution of behavior in animals that live in groups, such as the social insects (e.g., ants, termites, social bees, and social wasps). In particular, she is interested in how individual traits influence group performance and how selection on group characteristics influence the evolution of individual phenotypes. She is also interested in how ecological context shapes the evolution of collective behaviors. Natalie currently uses agent-based simulations to examine the dynamics of collective foraging in honeybees and explore how inter-individual differences in forager behavior affect the colony level trade-off between exploiting known resources and exploring for new ones.

natalie.lemanski [at] gmail [dot] com

Nitika Sharma (2019- )

Nitika studied the spatial organization of tropical paper wasps on their nests during her PhD at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. She found that wasps spatially organize themselves, possibly to facilitate nutritional exchange and minimize disease spread. She is interested in the role of space in resolving cost-benefit tradeoffs within the densely populated nests of social insects, particularly in relation to food distribution and disease spread.

nitikasharma0511 [at] gmail [dot] com

Graduate students

Gabby Najm (PhD, 2018-)

Gabby is interested in studying social behavior, specifically how individuals of a particular personality type can exert a disproportionate influence over the behavior of others in a group, at both an individual and collective level (keystone effect). Using social spiders, she aims to research the genomic basis of personality type in populations where the keystone effect is either present or absent, as well as how gene expression and personality is altered under different kinds of social interactions and physical environmental conditions.

gnajm [at] ucla [dot] edu

Eva Horna Lowell (PhD 2019- )

Eva is a behavioral ecologist broadly interested in the social behavior of insects (honey bees and ants). For her PhD she is interested in studying the impact of architecture on the collective behavior of harvester ants. More specifically, Eva is interested in whether there is variation across populations of V. andrei in their ability to respond to changes in the environment through the architecture of the nests they excavate. Eva completed her masters at the University of Denver, where she studied the foraging behavior of honey bees.

evasofiahl [at] gmail [dot] com

Denisse Gamboa (PhD 2019- )

Ana Rubio (MSc, 2018-)

Ana is interested in understanding how social behavior among ants impacts both individual and colony level diet preference in urban and natural environments. She will be focusing on the mechanisms that have allowed Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) to radiate throughout multiple countries and become one of the most dominant invasive species in California.

anmrubio [at] ucla [dot] edu

Sean O’Fallon (MSc 2019- )


Undergraduate students

Colette White (2019-)

Colette is in her third year of pursuing a molecular biology degree. She is interested in community and environmental health. Her research in the lab focuses on the behavioral changes that occur during development in adolescent social spiders. Specifically, she is  asking how the personality of the adults in a colony shape the personality of juvenile spiders.

colette_panaga [at] hotmail [dot] com

Anna Weir (2019-)

Anna is in the final year of her undergraduate degree in biology. She is interested in animal behavior and conservation management. Anna’s research focuses on the recent emergence of intraspecific aggression between colonies of the Argentine ant in Los Angeles.

annacxweir [at] gmail [dot] com

Emily Surrell (2019-)

Emily is in her second of three years at UCLA, where she is pursuing an  undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics with a specialization in Computing. She is interested in data science and machine learning. Through working in the Pinter-Wollman lab, she is learning how to apply statistical programming to gain insights into possible strategies that Argentine ants may use to optimize the efficiency of food distribution among a colony.

esurrell [at] g.ucla [dot] edu

Madison Pinko (2019-)

Jessica Patzlaff (2019-)

Kavya Krishnan (2019-)

Kavya is a first year biology major interested in pursuing a career in wildlife conservation. She is currently working on how nest architecture influences colony success.

kavya.bkrishnan65 [at] gmail [dot] com

Francis Evangelista (2018-)

Past lab members

Thiago Mosqueiro (2015-2018) now at, Boston, USA
Edmund Hunt (2016-2017) now at the University of Bristol, UK
Reut Berger-Tal (2015) now at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

Undergraduate students (who conducted independent projects)
Kevin Neumann (2016-2019)
Artem Pashinchinskiy (2017-2019)
Maurissa Brown (2018-2019)
Hannah Page (2016-17)
Melissa Peng (2016-17)
Emma Wan (2018)
Angela Xue (2018)
Angelika Pe (2018)

Brian Mi (2015-16)
Ashley Hui (2013)