Lab Team

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Queensland, Australia

Benjamin Rubin

Graduate Student
The Field Museum 

Although Ben only arrived at The Field Museum and the University of Chicago in the fall of 2009, he comes to the team with plenty of experience in the DNA of ants. Ben worked on acacia ants in Kenya as an undergraduate and will now work with acacia ants in Central and South America for his Ph.D., under the guidance of Dr. Corrie Moreau.


Jesse Czekanski-Moir

Research Assistant
The Field Museum

Research assistant Jesse Czekanski-Moir conducts much of the DNA prep work in the museum's Pritzker Laboratory. He prepares specimens for DNA sequencing by grinding them up and mixing them with chemicals that extract the DNA. To get multiple copies of the particular ant genes that will be studied, Jesse then sends DNA samples through a molecular copier machine called the polymerase (poh-LIM-ur-ase) chain reaction (PCR). The copies then go through a genetic analyzer, which reads the genetic sequence in the DNA.

Rebekah Baquiran

Collections Assistant
The Field Museum

Once ants have been collected in the wild, they are brought back to The Field Museum, where collections assistant Rebekah "Beka" Baquiran helps to sort and prepare the ants. These specimens will now become part of the Museum's permanent collection, and as such will be used to document the diversity of ants around the world.


Stefanie Kautz

Postdoctoral Researcher
The Field Museum

Steffi completed her Ph.D. at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany, in June of 2009 and very recently came to work at The Field Museum with Dr. Corrie Moreau. During her Ph.D. thesis, Steffi used the DNA of ants living symbiotically with acacia trees in Mexico to show how mutualisms can be stably maintained throughout evolutionary history. With extensive knowledge of DNA research in ants, Steffi is an invaluable member of the Ant Lab Team.