Sean Mullen

Assistant Professor, Boston University


Sean Mullen - Assistant Professor

Originally from Pennsylvania, I completed my undergraduate degree in biology at Dickinson College in 1995 and, after a brief hiatus, my master’s degree in biology from Villanova University in 2001.  I went on to complete a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University, where I was advised by Richard Harrison.  I switched from butterflies to crickets for my postdoc with Kerry Shaw and then returned to my own system during my first professional position at Lehigh University (2007-2010).  I am deeply interested in adaptation and speciation, and I have worked on the evolution of adaptive phenotypic variation in a wide range of ecological and evolutionary models systems.


Nora Moskowitz - Undergraduate

Nora joined the lab in the Spring of 2013 and worked this past summer as a UROP fellow on the evolution of mimicry among North American Limenitis using gene genealogies from the cis-regulatory region controlling phenotype.  This fall she plans to follow up on her preliminary results before heading to Ecuador for BU’s tropical field semester abroad program...she’ll be missed!

Benjamin Pote - Graduate Student (Biology)

Ben recently joined the lab after completing his B.A. in biology from Hampshire College (’13).  He plans to work on the genetic and functional basis of phenotypic plasticity in Harmonia lady beetles, and is particularly interested in tying phenotypic variation to fitness differences among individuals.

Wesley Savage - Postdoctoral Researcher

Wes is a broadly trained evolutionary herpetologist with deep interests in landscape genetics and conservation biology. During his time in the Mullen lab, he worked on a variety of projects resulting in multiple papers.  He is currently teaching at UMass Boston.

Jennifer Cochran-Ivester - Undergraduate Student

Jenn was the original Mullen lab support specialist.  She joined the lab in the Summer of 2007 and worked on a wide variety of projects until her graduation in 2009.  Known for her eclectic taste in music and rock-star pipetting hands at the bench.  Highly organized and driven, she is now a Pharmacist living in Towson, Maryland.

Chelsea Peterson - Undergraduate Student

Chelsea graduated from Boston University in May 2011 with a B.S. in Biology. While working in the Mullen lab, she was responsible for generating genealogical data related to wing pattern variation from several known color patterning genes.  After graduation, Chelsea moved to Seattle, Washington and currently works at Intellectual Ventures, Inc.

Benjamin  Evans - Undergraduate Student

Ben graduated from Lehigh University in May 2009 with a B.A. in Biology. While working in the Mullen lab, he was instrumental in generating and analyzing several EST libraries generated using the Roche 454 Titanium platform.  Ben is currently a 3rd year graduate student at Yale University.

Jason Gallant - Postdoctoral Researcher

Jason is deeply interested in the genetic basis of phenotypic novelty and behavioral traits involved in animal communication.  In the Mullen lab, his worked helped elucidate the specific mutations underlying adaptive mimetic diversity in butterflies.  As of Fall 2013, Dr. Gallant will be joining the faculty at Michigan State University as a new Assistant Professor!

Lab Alumni

Vance Imhoff - Graduate Student

Vance joined the lab in the Summer of 2007, after finishing his B.S. in biology from the University of Texas at Austin. His dissertation research has focused on constructing a high density genetic linkage map to identify the genomic regions housing color patterning genes associated with mimetic wing pattern variation in the polytypic Limenitis arthemis-astyanax complex.  Vance is scheduled to defend his Ph.D. this Fall.

Rachel Norris - Graduate Student (Education)

Rachel is a NOYCE science scholar pursuing her Master’s of Arts in Teaching degree at BU.  As part of her rotation in the Mullen lab, Rachel hopes to establish breeding colonies of Harmonia axyridis for use in foraging efficiency experiments.

Emily Ebel - Graduate Student (Biology)

Emily is a Master’s student using RAD markers to investigate patterns of wing pattern evolution, mimicry, and convergence among a rapidly diversifying group of Neotropical butterflies in the genus Adelpha.  As part of this work, Emily is also using simulated RAD and whole genome data sets to explore the effect of allelic dropout on estimates of phylogenies using different data partitioning schemes.