New paper in Evolution Letters!

We (Mandy and third-year UVA undergraduate Anna Nguyen) just published a study in Evolution Letters! We conducted a series of meta-analyses to test the hypothesis that host populations with reduced genetic diversity experience increased burdens of parasites relative to genetically diverse host populations. The results show that experimental increases in genetic diversity reduce parasitism by 20% in non-crop hosts and by 50% in crop hosts! You can read a blog post all about the article here.

Gibson, A.K. and Nguyen, A.E. (2020), Does genetic diversity protect host populations from parasites? A meta‐analysis across natural and agricultural systems. Evolution Letters.

The whole study diagrammed , with our original predictions

New paper in Parasitology!

It was such fun working on this new paper on social behavior and parasitism with someof my scientific heroes – Dana Hawley, Andrea Townsend, Meggan Craft, and Jessica Stephenson! Thanks to Dana Hawley for assembling this team and giving me some fascinating news ideas to think about.

Read more here: DM Hawley, AK Gibson, AK Townsend, ME Craft, and JF Stephenson. 2020. Bidirectional interactions between host social behaviour and parasites arise through ecological and evolutionary processes. Parasitology. In press. link

New paper in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology

Kayla Stoy, a graduate student at Emory University, has recently published a commentary on the evolutionary genetics of mutualism. It was an honor to work with Kayla, Levi Morran, and Nicole Gerardo in developing her insightful ideas!

Find it here: KS Stoy, AK Gibson, NM Gerardo, and LT Morran. A need to consider the evolutionary genetics of host–symbiont mutualisms. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. In press. link

Some of the fun mutualisms that inspired Kayla:

Sarah and Juliana – welcome!

We’re very excited to welcome two new lab members this past week – Sarah Hesse and Juliana Jiranek! They’ll be running some newly funded projects in the lab, and we are just thrilled to have them! Sarah joins us after an undergraduate at Emory where she did research in Levi Morran’s lab, followed by time abroad in Frankfurt, Germany working to support recent migrants to Germany. Juliana joins us after an undergraduate at Princeton in Jess Metcalf’s lab, where she studied the effects of climate on the ecology and epidemiology of plant pathogens. Welcome!

Interested in a PhD in Biology?

Applications for the UVA Biology graduate program are open until December 1. No GRE needed!

To find out more: come see us at SACNAS (Oct 19-24) or ABRCMS (Nov 9-13), and attend our virtual Q&A session on Oct 27 or Nov 19, register at:

Technician position in the lab!

We’re hiring a technician to work on a new Jeffress Trust Award to study the evolution of parasite resistance across environmental contexts. Ad and link below

The Department of Biology is hiring a Lab and Research Technician in the Gibson lab at the University of Virginia in association with a recently funded project to understand how environmental factors promote or impede the evolution of resistance.  The Research Technician will be responsible for assisting with this and other ongoing projects in the lab. 

The Gibson lab ( at the University of Virginia studies the evolutionary ecology and genetics of host-parasite interactions with the goal of understanding how organisms adapt to rampant uncertainty – uncertainty in the species and strain of parasite a host might encounter and uncertainty in the environment in which that encounter will unfold.  Our research makes use of the fabulous experimental tools and resources available for the model nematode C. elegans and its natural parasites.  These include experimental evolution with cryogenic preservation, high-throughput phenotyping, a variety of transgenic methods, and wild isolates with whole genome sequences.  Researchers in the lab have ample opportunity for creative experimental design, independence, and training in a variety of skills and areas of scholarship. In joining the lab, new members sign on to our commitment to promoting an inclusive and safe environment, supporting all the members of our team in realizing their full potential, and actively valuing the creativity and productivity that comes from the meeting of diverse minds.

Experience performing basic molecular techniques including DNA extraction, PCR, or gel electrophoresis, and familiarity with Excel and R is also highly preferred. In addition, the qualified candidate will have excellent verbal and written communication skills and the ability to work accurately and with attention to detail.


  • Performing phenotyping assays to measure parasite resistance
    • Overseeing and assisting in experimental evolution projects
    • Entering and formatting data for use by researchers developing and parameterizing mathematical models
    • Staying up to date on relevant experimental techniques and implementing these in the lab to improve accuracy and efficiency
    • Training undergraduates in the lab and managing their schedules and responsibilities
    • Animal husbandry, including tracking levels of archived stocks, archiving additional stocks, ordering new stocks, and maintaining the condition of stocks
    • Ensuring normal day-to-day operations of the lab and compliance with environmental safety standards.

The anticipated salary range for the position is $14 – $16/hr.

This full-time position will remain open until filled.


Process for External Applicants: Please apply at  Complete an application online and attach a cover letter, CV/resume, and contact information for three professional references (name, email address, telephone number, and address).

Process for Internal UVA Applicants: Please apply through your Workday Home page, search “Find Jobs”, and search for “Biology Gibson Lab and Research Tech”. Complete an application online and attach a cover letter, CV/resume, and contact information for three professional references (name, email address, telephone number, and address).

For questions about this position or the application process please contact Rich Haverstrom, Faculty Search Advisor, at

The Laboratory and Research Technician role provides career tracks for laboratory technicians, geological technicians,and laboratory animal caretakers that perform a variety of laboratory and/or research tasks in support of research/teaching,clinical services, geological services, field research or a regulatory laboratory. Employees are responsible for a variety of standard procedures that range from routine to specialized in the areas of cleaning and decontamination; media preparation; performing standard/routine laboratory testing; sectioning and preparing rock and mineral samples for various mineralogical and laboratory analyses; preparing samples; assisting in autopsy, necropolis, or routine surgical procedures; maintaining animal health and welfare; recording data, and operating and maintaining tools and equipment.

The University of Virginia, including the UVA Health System and the University Physician’s Group are fundamentally committed to the diversity of our faculty and staff.  We believe diversity is excellence expressing itself through every person’s perspectives and lived experiences.  We are equal opportunity and affirmative action employers. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender identity, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, and family medical or genetic information.