Lab Members

Kerri Kerri Crawford, Ph.D.

Kerri is broadly interested in plants, their interactions with each other and other organisms (including insects and microbes), and the community-level and ecosystem-level consequences of these interactions. She also loves fishing, sports, reading, and eating at all the amazing restaurants in Houston.

Kerri’s CV

Email:  Phone: 1.713.743.8948  Office: SR2 242F  Lab: 231

 Current Graduate Students

Hannah Locke | Ph.D. Studenthannah

Hannah graduated with a B.A. in Biological Sciences and Environmental Studies from Goucher College. After spending three years in the classroom learning how to effectively teach science with Teach for America, Hannah returned to research to pursue her interests in plant community ecology. Her work primarily explores how soil symbionts influence plant traits, and mediate plant-insect interactions aboveground, but she is widely interested in mutualisms, multitrophic interactions and phenotypic plasticity.  In her free time, she enjoys experimenting with gluten-free recipes and taking long walks with her dog in state parks. (Photo credit to Lyle Hawthorne).

Email Hannah

Noah Luecke | Ph.D. StudentDSCN0195

Noah received his B.S. from Cal State Monterey Bay in Biology. He then worked in a Plant Pathology lab at the USDA-ARS. He is interested in fungi, (the good, the bad, and the beautiful), and how they facilitate plant community composition. He identifies with a junkyard dog, loves repurposing things, being outside, barks a lot, and can be the best friend you ever have.

Email Noah

Scott300Scott Clark | Ph.D. Student

Scott wants to understand the way plant communities develop, respond to exotic invasions, interact with soil microbiota, and adapt to climate change. He has chronicled his experience doing research on sea turtles in the Galapagos Islands at and his time backpacking and exploring the natural landscape of Texas at He graduated with a B.S. in Biology from the University of Houston and has worked as a photographer, writer and multimedia news editor.

Email Scott

Current Undergraduate Students

Hoang Luu | Post-Bac

captureHoang graduated from UH with a B.S. in mathematical biology and joined the lab in September 2016. In his undergraduate career, he studied a little bit of everything in the STEM fields. Currently, Hoang is helping create a plant-soil feedback model. When he isn’t blowing minds with math, Hoang enjoys traveling and investing in stocks. He hopes to change the world in a positive way.

Huda Khancapture

Huda joined us in lab in January 2016, and is majoring in Biology in UH’s Honors College. She hopes to someday be a physician. When she isn’t helping us out by isolating and counting spores, Huda enjoys cooking, painting, reading, talking with friends and family, and spending time outdoors. On her weekends, Huda enjoys binge watching shows and catching up on sleep (who doesn’t?!).

Sandy Berger

Sandy joined the lab in June. She is a sophomore majoring in environmental science, and would like to work in conservation in the future. Sandy has been a major asset to our spore counting, and enjoys biking, reading, and spending time with friends. She also hopes to spend some time traveling in her lifetime.



Graduate and Technician Lab Alumni

Anna Hawkins | M.S.Picture1

Anna completed her master’s degree in Spring 2017. She tested how soil moisture influences interactions between plants and soil microbes in the Texas coastal prairie. Before coming to UH, Anna received her B.S. from the University of Alabama. In addition to science, Anna also enjoys hiking, pokemon, Zelda, baking, and all thing Miyazaki! Anna is currently on the job market in Houston. If anyone is in need of an excellent ecologist and/or top-notch educator, let her know!

Email Anna

Michelle Busch | Lab technicianmichelle

Michelle joined us in September 2015 after finishing her B.S. at the University of Michigan, spending some time in Uganda, and TA’ing at the University of Michigan’s Biostation.  She is highly skilled in all things ecological and kept everything in the lab running smoothly.  When she isn’t sciencing (and sometimes when she is sciencing), Michelle likes being scared, Harry Potter, and baking for the lab. Michelle is currently a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma, where she is studying stream ecology. While in the lab, Michelle received a honorable mention for her application to NSF’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program. We wish Michelle all the best!

Email Michelle

Heather Slinn | Lab technicianFullSizeRender3

Heather was our lab tech during the summer of 2015.  She came to us from the University of British Columbia, where she worked with Greg Crutsinger.  She was responsible for getting the lab up and running.  We set up an amazing number of experiments while she was here!  Now, Heather is a PhD student at the University of Nevada – Reno (soon to be University of Guelph) and is studying tritrophic interactions in the tropics.

Email Heather

Maya Reese | Rotation Studentcapture

Maya Reese graduated with a degree in Biology from Tuskegee University. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. here at the University of Houston and her interests are in the behavioral ecology of social insects. While she mostly works with the Western Harvester Ant, Pogonomyrmex occidentalis, Maya joined us for Spring semester in 2016 for a rotation in our lab looking at plant soil feedback with Ammophila. Her main goal  for her PhD is to understand how ant behavior affects their fitness. She’s also a lover of all things Pokemon, Marvel, and Star Wars! And if she is not at home watching Netflix you can probably find her at her secondary (and favorite) residence, The Galleria.

Undergraduate Lab Alumni

Carolyn Nielsen| Undergraduate Research Assistant

Carolyn joined our lab in the Spring of 2017 and we have been lucky to have her around! Always eager and willing to help, Carolyn has been essential to leaf counting, data recording, weighing materials, and general lab spirit. She hopes to work on her own project soon, and wants to continue towards a graduate degree in ecology.

10443219_10154295495255641_7699387304212673898_oYash Desai | Undergraduate Research Assistant

Yash joined the lab in January 2015. He is enthusiastic about separating roots from sand and extracting hyphae. Yash is also an RA at the University of Houston, and is involved in many organizations other than our lab -and he is an asset to them all! Yash is currently applying for medical school and is looking forward to taking a year off.

Tran Mai | IMG_4634 Senior Honors Thesis

Tran joined the lab in January 2015.  Tran is responsible for keeping Kerri on task, perfecting lab techniques, and making everyone laugh.  She is also finishing her senior thesis, which tests how nematodes influence plant community composition. Tran also has been to Haiti for 2 consecutive summers to help give medical aid to villagers in need. Trans is headed to Boston to go to Pharmacy school after a summer of travels!

Joseph Trinh | Undergraduate Research Assistantjoseph

Joseph joined the lab to assist Anna with her graduate research in the winter of 2016. He is a junior at UH studying Biology and minoring in Chemistry and Psychology. He is also an officer for the Pre-Optometry Professional Society. When he isn’t helping out by making slides or weighing plant material, Joseph enjoys playing sports, listening and making music, and volunteering to help those in need.


Carlos Perez carlos| Undergraduate Research Assistant

Carlos joined the lab in May 2015.  He is an expert plant waterer, seed collector, soil sorter, and general lab boss.  Carlos is in the teachHOUSTON, which aims increase the number of qualified STEM educators in Houston and across the US.  Carlos has been awarded a teaching job in Cypress Independent School Distric, where he hope to inspire students to become more engaged in biology and the sciences.

Carmelo Laurea | Undergraduate Research Assistant
Carmelo is screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-3-24-57-pmmajoring in Biology with a minor in Business Administration, aspiring to become a dentist. He volunteers his time at a free clinic to help the under served population of Houston. He is also a foodie and loves venturing out to new restaurants every week. He is a member of the American Student Dental Association and Global Medical Brigades here at UH. Also, basketball is ingrained in his soul, because ball is life. He joined us in the spring of 2016.


captureShelby Chriss | Undergraduate Research Assistant

Shelby joined the lab in January 2015.  She is an expert at gluing seeds onto toothpicks, helping Kerri move heavy furniture, and organizing the lab. Shelby is also helped on an independent project testing how soil microbes from Lake Michigan sand dunes influence plant growth.

Katie Hauser | Undergraduate Research Assistant IMG_1464 (2)

Katie joined the lab in January 2015.  Katie loves kittens and finding Ammophila seeds. Katie graduated in 2016, and is currently working as a dental assistant to a pediatric dentist while she is applying to dental school.

10557739_10204803706108361_8757845283380687509_oTaylor Hinchliffe | Undergraduate Research Assistant

Taylor joined the lab in January 2015.  Taylor is enthusiastic about all things science. Taylor also graduated in 2016, and is currently working in Dr. Danino’s lab in NYC studying design principles of gene circuits while figuring out what his next steps are.

Sean Barnes | Undergraduate Research Assistant screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-3-18-09-pm

After spending time working in biomedical and evolutionary biology labs, Sean decided to join our lab in October 2015 to learn more about ecology.  While he missed dissecting mice, Sean made do with dissecting flowers. He recently started an internship at MD Anderson in the hopes of going to med school (maybe flowers weren’t good enough after all…).

Bhavya Gurugunti | Undergraduate Research Assistant

While on break from her studies at the University of Texas – Dallas, Bhavya helps out in our lab.  Last summer, she set up an independent project testing how soil microbes influence plant succession on Lake Michigan sand dunes.  Shelby was her in-house counterpart to finish the project.

Caitlin Watanasiri | Senior Honor’s ThesisCaitlin

Caitlin conducted her senior thesis research with me while she was an undergrad at Washington University in St. Louis.  She tested how invasive garlic mustard influences the community structure of native species in the forest understory. Caitlin is currently on the job market and looking for ecology-related jobs.