Elias Lab

People in the Elias Lab

Principal Investigator


Damian Octavio Elias

Position: Associate Professor
Elias received his B.Sc. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona followed by a Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Behavior from Cornell University. Through his career, his research has been funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Institute of Health, and the National Science Foundation



Graduate Students


Christine Rivera

Position: Graduate Student
Rivera is broadly interested in behavioral ecology, sexual selection, and mating behavior. Her primary research focuses on acoustic, visual, and multi-modal communication. She received her B.A. from Hampshire College, where she studied animal behavior, with a focus on bioacoustics and physiology.

Erin Brandt

Erin Brandt

Position: Graduate Student
Brandt is interested in invertebrate ecology and evolution, specifically in spiders. She has a BS from Michigan Technological University and an MS from Portland State University, with a thesis project on fluorescence in spiders. She plans to study the interplay of natural and sexual selection in jumping spiders with an emphasis on visual ecology. 

Nacho Escalante

Ignacio Escalante

Position: Graduate Student
Escalante is interested in animal behavior and ecology, particularly on the evolution of behavioral plasticity in arachnids. He has a BSc and a MS from the Universidad de Costa Rica, where he studied the predatory behavior and web construction of a tropical sheet weaver spider. His current research topics involve motor performance in opiliones and spiders, particularly questions about behavioral compensation after limb loss in locomotion, communication and sexual behaviors.  

Maggie Raboin

Maggie Raboin

Position: Graduate Student
Raboin is interested in animal behavior and evolution, specifically in spiders. She received her BSc from the University of Montana where she studied wildlife biology. She plans to study the evolution and function of mound-building behavior in mason spiders, a new species of spider in the genus Castianeira.

Maggie Raboin

Benji Kessler

Position: Graduate Student
Kessler is interested in sensory ecology, sexual selection, and speciation. He received his A.B. from Dartmouth college where he studied biology with an area of concentration in ecology and evolutionary biology. He plans to study the role of vision in courtship and evolution of jumping spiders. 




Karena Tang

Position: Undergraduate Research Assistant
Karena Tang is currently assisting with animal care and managing a long-term developmental data set in the Elias Lab. She is interested in animal behavior and in particular, how different types of animals learn and reproduce in the wild.





NEWS: Second Annual "Poot-off" Results!!!!