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Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Lowe CV 2019.pdf (105.9 KB)

Chris has been working in deuterostome evolution since his graduate working with Greg Wray on echinoderms. He started working on hemichordates with Mike Levine at UC Berkeley and then continued at Berkeley with John Gerhart and Marc Kirschner. He starting his lab at University of Chicago in 2005 and moved to Stanford in 2010. 


Ivan Candido-Ferreira

Ivan is a joint postdoc with Alejandro Sánchez-Alvarado’s lab (Stowers Institute). Ivan is working on regeneration in the tropical burrowing marine worm Ptychodera flava, a group of rather strange enteropneust hemichordates from French Polynesia that can fully regenerate their brain. His work combines single-cell genomics, molecular biology and bioinformatics to reconstruct the key molecular events and cell-types controlling nervous system regeneration. Before joining the Sánchez-Alvarado & Lowe labs, Ivan obtained a PhD from the University of Oxford in the UK, where he worked with Tatjana Sauka-Spengler on the development and evolution of the vertebrate neural crest. Ivan is an enhancer aficionado and love weird marine creatures.

Laurent Formery

Laurent is a joint postdoc with Dan Rokhsar’s lab (UC Berkeley). Laurent is working on his favorite group of animals, the bizarre echinoderms, and tries to understand how their unique pentaradial body plan is related to the ancestral bilateral body plan of other deuterostomes. To do so, he is using several echinoderm species for comparative approaches combining molecular biology and bioinformatics. Before joining the Lowe lab, Laurent obtained a PhD from Sorbonne University (France), during which he worked on the development and evolution of the nervous system in the sea urchin Paracentrotus lividus, and on the roles of intercellular signaling pathways in this process. As part of his PhD, Laurent spent one year at the Shimoda Marine Research Center (Japan). Laurent is broadly fascinated by developmental biology, by the evolution of body plans, nervous systems and life history stages, and by zoological studies of weird animals in general.

PhD. Students

Lauren Lubeck

Lauren is a joint PhD candidate with Bo Wang’s lab at Stanford. She is interested in early developmental mechanisms and how they differ with life history strategies. She works on two species of hemichordates, the direct-developing S. kowalevskii on the East coast, and the indirect-developing S. californicum in Morro Bay, CA. Her work uses comparative approaches including molecular biology and single-cell genomics to understand early axis patterning. Before joining the Lowe & Wang labs, Lauren graduated from Brown University with a B.Sc. in Biology in 2019. Outside of the lab, Lauren enjoys exploring the outdoors & tidepooling, baking, and trying to make her friends laugh.

Albert Martí i Sabarí

Albert joined the Lowe Lab as a PhD student in September 2022. He graduated from University College London (United Kingdom) with an MSci in Biological Sciences, specializing in Cell Biology. His research experience is mainly focused on the cellular structures and dynamics of nervous systems, and he previously studied the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying nervous system regeneration in the brittle star Amphiura filiformis. Albert is most passionate about the diversity and evolution of developmental processes and animal body plans, particularly those of peculiar marine invertebrates and their nervous systems.

Brennan McDonald

Brennan joined the Lowe lab in August 2024. He is excited about studying the evolution of biphasic lifecycles in marine invertebrates, and is particularly interested in understanding the transcriptional regulation of metamorphosis and whether it involves different pathways from embryonic development. Prior to joining the Lowe lab, Brennan graduated from Duke University with a B.Sc. in biology and worked for three years as a research assistant in Greg Wray’s lab. His research there focused on understanding cell fate changes during adult development and metamorphosis in the sea urchin Heliocidaris erythrogramma.

Heidi Tate

Heidi joined the Lowe Lab in October 2023 with an interest in the development and evolution of diverse marine invertebrates, especially the echinoderms. She graduated with a master’s degree from Scripps Oceanography at UC San Diego where she investigated the development and patterning of skeletogenic cells during the late larval stages of sea urchins, and worked on applying transgenic techniques to these animals to aid in answering broader questions. Heidi is excited to explore other aspects of development, particularly on the evolution and function of echinoderm nervous systems.



Riley has been relieving lab stress for cookies since 2011

Jenny Grossman

Jenny is a recent graduate from California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) where she received a Bachelor’s in Marine Science. While at CSUMB, she discovered her passion for research and science education. She has spent the past four years doing research in fields such as environmental physiology and behavioral ecology. One of Jenny’s career goals is to help improve the youth’s literacy in ocean and earth related topics. She is also an enthusiastic naturalist who enjoys tide-pooling, hiking, and scientific illustration.

Peter Nilsson


Peter Nilsson joined the lab in 2022 as a tech following his Masters with Bruno Pernet at CSU Long Beach. He is taking care of our animals and larvae and will be developing new larval rearing facilities.






Lab Alumni

José Andrade Lopez

José  investigated the structure of the enteropneust nervous system by defining the diversity of neural cell types, their distribution and connectivity in the developing juveniles of Saccoglossus. He is currently a postdoc at Genentech. 

Paul was a grad student in the lab who investigated how genomic information drives cellular composition in metazoan animals. His work focused on how the cellular composition of larvae changes during the process of metamorphosis in the indirect-developing enteropneust hemichordate Schizocardium californicum. He graduated in June 2022 and joined Mansi Srivastava's lab at Harvard as a postdoc.

Nat was a PhD. student in the lab from 2012 - 2018. His thesis focussed on the evolution of multicellularity and used the anemone Nematostella vectensis to investigate the evolution of cell adhesion using both a developmental and biochemical approach. 

Jens was a postdoc in the lab from 2009 - 2016 working on posterior growth and the evolution of body plans. He is currently a Research Assistant Professor in Elena Casey's lab at Georgetown University. 

Andrew was in the lab from 2007-2009 as a PhD. student and is now an Assistant Professor at University of Cambridge in the Department of Zoology. 

Paul was a PhD. student in the lab from 2012-2017- he developed Schizocardium as a new model for the lab,  and is now a postdoc in the Baxevannis Lab at NIH. 

Stephen was a PhD. student in the lab from 2007-2012. He worked on mesoderm specification and development in Saccolgossus and is currently a Postdoc in Marianne Bronners lab at Caltech. 

Chris Lang

Chris worked in the lab as a summer intern for a few years and is now in a PhD program at UC Santa Cruz in Environmental Studies. 

Judith Levine

Judith did a Masters degree in echinoderm body patterning and graduated in 2014

Joseph Lim

Andrew Miller

Andrew worked for several summers as an intern working on echinoderm development and website construction. He is now an environmental attorney at Shute Mihaly and Weinberger in San Francisco. 

Paul Minor

Paul worked on the evolution of gene regulation as a postdoc and is now a staff scientist at BioRad. 

Veronica Pagowski

Veronica is a PhD. student in the lab and is interested in nervous system diversity and evolution in marine invertebrates. She works on understanding how the larval nervous system controls ecologically relevant behavior in the bat star Patiria miniata. More broadly, she aims to understand how larval nervous systems control important “decisions” for a larva to successfully disperse, find food, and settle in optimal locations. Veronica is generally interested in understanding how comparatively simple nervous systems direct complex behavior in marine invertebrates and how these unique nervous systems can provide new insights into neurobiology research.

Ari was a PhD. student in the lab from 2008-2013. He worked on the evolution of deuterostome brains in the lab and following a postdoc with Bob Goldstein at UNC Chapel Hill, he is starting his own lab in the Department of Biology at the University of Virginia Charlottesville. 

John Rogers

John worked in the lab as a undergraduate developing transgenic approaches in the starfish Patiria miniata. He is now a medical student at USC

Cat Rogers

Cat was a Stanford BSURP REU student who worked with Paul Bump. Cat gracefully transitioned to a fully remote project during the COVID-19 pandemic and worked on a project entitled, “Keep Your Head Up: Cell Type Comparisons of Anteriorly Patterned Larva to Adult in Schizocardium californicum”. Cat will be starting as postbac with Katherine Rogers at NIH. 


Auston Rutledge

Auston was a Lab Tech from 2017-2021 where he improved algae culturing and the husbandry of NematostellaSchizocardium, Patiria and Parastichopus. He is currently a Ph.D. Student in the Reitzel Lab at the University of North Carolina Charlotte.

Clover Stubbert

Clover was a UROC student from Cal State Monterey Bay (CSUMB) who worked with Paul Bump on looking at the expression of candidate stem cell markers in Schizocardium californicum. After completing her capstone project with Paul, she continued her interest in stem cells and went on to a postbac in Erin Davies’s Lab at NIH.  

Miranda Vogt

Miranda worked as an underdgraduate with Nat Clarke on development of the sea anenome Nematostella vectensis. 

Marcin was a graduate student in the lab from 2007 to 2012. His work focussed on the role of Nodal signaling in the early development of S. kowalevskii. He is now the manager of the National Xenopus Resource at the MBL.