Iris Levin, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Iris has been studying birds since 2003 when she fell in love with research on a foggy island in the middle of the Bay of Fundy. She has worked with small passerine birds, Galapagos seabirds, and now studies the secret lives of barn swallows (pictured on left). Contact Iris if you are interested in getting involved in research in the Levin Lab at Kenyon College!
Iris teaches Animal Behavior, Experimental Animal Behavior, Introduction to Environmental Studies, Introduction to Experimental Biology, Disease Ecology, and (soon), Ornithology!
Toshi Tsunekage, Ph.D. Visiting Assistant Professor Toshi and Iris have been collaborating in life and science for many years. Toshi's research interests are very broad, but often are related to life history. These days, he has been working with Iris and Levin lab students on barn swallows, adding new dimensions to the lab's work.
Toshi teaches introductory biology courses at Kenyon, including BIOL 115: Energy in Living Systems, BIOL 116: Information in Living Systems, and both semesters of the foundational lab course: Introduction to Experimental Biology.
Undergraduate research students
Serena Liu '23 Serena is a senior Molecular Biology major and French minor from Sichuan, China. She enjoys hiking on different BFEC trails, doing karaoke with friends, and watching cooking videos online. In the Levin lab, Serena's research focuses on telomere length and dynamics in adult barn swallows and their predicting factors.
Lindsey Abramson '24 Lindsey Abramson is a junior Biology major, chemistry minor from Cheshire, CT. She can often be found outdoors, playing volleyball, or reading. She is interested in pursuing veterinary medicine or something in healthcare. Lindsey’s research in the Levin lab focuses on whether barn swallow phenotype is non-random with respect to colony size and composition.
Omar Morosse '24 Omar Morosse is a junior Biology/English double-major from Nyack, NY. He enjoys spending time outdoors, backpacking, playing disc golf, weightlifting, and hanging out with his nephews. Omar studies assortative mating behavior in barn swallows with the Levin Lab at Kenyon College.
Issachar Lopez '25 Issachar Lopez is a sophomore from Los Angeles and a prospective Biology major. He enjoys staying active by running, playing squash, soccer, and frequent trips to the gym. He is very passionate about nature, and enjoys admiring plants and wildlife. Issachar is currently investigating latitudinal variation in barn swallow egg size, shape, and maculation.
Ammar Raslan '25 Ammar Raslan is a sophomore from Egypt intending to declare a double major in Biology and Philosophy. He likes writing, loves reading, and enjoys playing video games and watching movies. Ammar studies breeding synchrony in barn swallows with the Levin Lab at Kenyon College. Ammar absolutely adores the sea, and swimming in it.
Mattheus Santos '23 Mattheus was a Cascade Summer Research Scholar in the Levin lab in summer 2021. Mattheus worked on repeatability of eggshell phenotype, focusing especially on whether female barn swallows laid consistently patterned and shaped eggs between their first and second clutches, and whether eggshell maculation was similar on different sides of the same egg. Mattheus' work contributed to a 2022 student-led publication in Ornithology!
Charlie Voirin '22 Charlie was a Kenyon student from Batavia, Illinois who majored in Biology. Charlie tended to get excited about anything he was currently taking classes in! Charlie's research in the Levin lab explored nestling telomere length and dynamics and the early life conditions that influences this important indicatory trait. Charlie is now working as a post-baccalaureate research scholar at the National Institutes of Health and his first-authored manuscript that grew out of his honors thesis is in review.
Kate Alexy '22 Kate graduated from Kenyon with a biology major and English minor. She is from Mendham, NJ and loves all aspects of wildlife behavior and vertebrate anatomy. She has just begun vet school at Cornell University, and she is ultimately interested in addressing conservation issues as a wildlife vet. Kate’s research in the Levin lab contributed to our understanding of geographic variation in barn swallow plumage color and she contributed to a project about nestling plumage color and CORT.
Bella Stevens '22 Bella graduate from Kenyon with a biology major and a new found love of bats. Bella somehow managed to take all of Iris' classes, becoming especially interested in bats from Disease Ecology. Bella worked in the Levin lab on variation in female plumage color. Bella has been working several interesting biology-related jobs before gearing up to apply to graduate school.
Jared Gray '22 Jared, from Montrose Colorado, was a biology major Kenyon with a concentration in Environmental Studies and a Chemistry minor. He has broad interests in evolution and ecology, and intends to go on to graduate school. Jared spend a summer doing research in the desert where he fell in love with bees. He currently works in Idaho at the USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center. Jared’s research in the Levin lab focused on the geographical variation in plumage color and morphology in the North American subspecies of barn swallows.
Ilana Richter '22 Ilana graduated from Kenyon with a biology major. She’s passionate about animals and wildlife behavior/disease research. When she’s not at school or at home, she’s probably being jumped on by baboons in South Africa. Her work in the Levin lab focused on the relationship between secondary sexual characteristics and infection by avian malaria parasites.
Ava-Rose Beech '21 Ava-Rose was an Environmental Studies major and Biology minor at Kenyon College. She is from Los Angeles, California, and is interested in agriculture and ecology, as well as studying how to create more sustainable food systems. Ava-Rose's work in the Levin lab focused on variation of eggshell maculation patterns in barn swallows, and her honors thesis was published in 2022 in Ornithology! Ava-Rose is currently a Ph.D. student at UC - Davis in the Ecology graduate program.
Eva Brazer Furbush '21 Eva was a double-major in Biology and Environmental studies at Kenyon who graduated with distinction in both majors! Eva worked on avian malaria in barn swallows, and much of her research in the Levin lab was conducted remotely during the pandemic. Eva leveraged the MalAvi database to assemble a phylogeny of all the lineages of haemosporidians that infect barn swallows globally.
Ben Berejka '20 Ben graduated from Kenyon in the spring of 2020 majoring in Biology with a minor in Anthropology. He wanted to work with and around animals and is currently living his dream in San Diego as a marine mammal trainer. Ben was the inaugural student in the Levin lab at Kenyon and his research focused on eggshell maculation patterns in barn swallows.
Mackenzie Borum, Agnes Scott College '20 Mackenzie is a senior at Agnes Scott College from Greenville, South Carolina, and is a Biology major and Education and Environmental & Sustainability Studies double minor. She is particularly interested in urban ecology, environmental education, and sustainable development. Mackenzie's research in the Levin lab focused on the effects of artificial light at night on growth and development of nestling barn swallows and mockingbirds. She continued this line of research on campus mockingbirds, funded by a Norene Boring Undergraduate Research Grant from the Georgia Ornithological Society.
Ilsse Ortega, Agnes Scott College '20 Ilsse is a senior at Agnes Scott College. She's on the pre-med track and is notorious for getting excited about all aspects of biology, especially whatever she's currently learning about in her classes! Ilsse's research in the Levin lab focused on haemosporidian parasites of barn swallows. She was interested in seeing if parasite lineages can provide clues about where and when barn swallows become infected with these blood parasites. Her research was supported by Agnes Scott. Update: Ilsse has been up to all sorts of amazing things, including working for Stacey Abrams!
Emily Smith, Agnes Scott College '20 Emily is a senior at Agnes Scott College from Kingsport, Tennessee and is a Biology and Mathematics double major. She's especially interested in modeling biological systems and she's passionate about finding alternatives to plastic in our everyday lives. Emily's research in the Levin lab focused on barn swallow eggs; she imaged eggs to examine variation in speckle patterns between clutches and among females. Her research was supported by the Goizueta Foundation STEM Success Initiative. Update: Emily is now a PhD student at Emory University studying evolution in worms!
Jackie Umana, Agnes Scott College '20 Jackie is a senior at Agnes Scott from El Salvador. She is majoring in Biology with a minor in chemistry and is interested in working with wildlife. Jackie's research in the Levin lab investigated the relationship between male ventral plumage coloration and breeding colony size. Her research was supported by the Goizueta Foundation STEM Success Initiative.
Clara Drummond, Agnes Scott College '20 Clara is a senior at Agnes Scott College from Roswell, GA. She is a Biology major and Environmental and Sustainability Studies minor who is interested in ecology and conservation. Clara's research in the Levin lab focused on the relationship between barn swallow colony size and the frequency of extra-pair paternity. Her research was supported by the Goizueta Foundation STEM Success Initiative at Agnes Scott College.
Vaughn Wicker, Agnes Scott College '19 Vaughn was an Agnes Scott student from Atlanta, Georgia. He majored in biology and minored in mathematics. Vaughn joined the Levin lab in Summer 2017 and investigated telomere length heritability in barn swallows, especially how nest parasites influence nestling telomere length. His research was supported by the Goizueta Foundation STEM Success Initiative and an Agnes Scott College Advantage Award. Vaughn is currently working in a lab for the GA Department of Public Health. Update: Vaughn now works for the CDC!
Jazz Stephens, Agnes Scott College '18 Jazz studied biology at Agnes Scott College with minors in German and chemistry. Her next adventure includes vet school at the University of Georgia! Jazz's project investigated how variation in incubation behavior contributes to variation in telomere length. Her research was supported by the Leonard Doerpinghaus Biology Student Excellence Fund. Jazz is currently in vet school at the University of Georgia. Update: Jazz is now a vet! Bravo!
Alina Ibrahim, Agnes Scott College '19 Alina did research in the Levin lab during her junior year at Agnes Scott College. Alina is from Stone Mountain, Georgia, but she also lived in India. She is currently majoring in Biology with a minor in public health and she is on the pre-vet track. She would one day like to work with either wildlife or exotic pets and is interested in ecology and conservation. Alina's research focused on the effects of nestling sex and growth on variation in telomere length. Her research was supported by an Advantage Award from Agnes Scott College.
Gabriella Chebli, Agnes Scott College '19 Gabi, who is from Miami, FL, did research in the Levin lab during her junior year at Agnes Scott College. She is double-majoring in biology and chemistry and is interested in pursuing a graduate degree in chemical ecology or a related field. Gabi collaborated with Iris during the Spring 2018 semester to understand whether telomere length and dynamics predict social behavior and reproductive success of barn swallows. Her contributions to the work were funded by Agnes Scott. Update: Gabi is in graduate school at GA Tech!
Maya Djordjevich, Agnes Scott College '17 Maya was an Agnes Scott student from Bethesda, Maryland. She majored in Biology with a minor in Public Health and graduated cum laude. Maya is currently applying to vet school and she is interested in working with wildlife and doing conservation research. Maya analyzed videos of barn swallows feeding their 8-day old chicks. Her research investigated whether a male's level of social interactivity with his mate (measured via proximity loggers) predicted his parental behavior. She presented her work at SPARC and at the annual Wilson Ornithological Conference and she's currently contributing to a publication of her research! Maya's conference travel was supported by an Advantage Award from Agnes Scott College. Maya is currently in vet school at Kansas State University.