Texas Tech University

Robert D. Bradley's Laboratory

Joanna Bateman
Teaching Assistant

Ph.D. student, Biology, Texas Tech Universityjoanna bateman
M.S. Biology, Brigham Young University
B.S. Biology, Brigham Young University


I have been researching and constructing the phylogenetic trees of the Heteromys pictus-spectabilis species complex (Painted spiny pocket mice and Jaliscan spiny pocket mice) since 2016 working on my Master's thesis under Dr. Duke Rogers. I began working in Dr. Bradley's lab in 2018, with the main goals of my PhD dissertation research being to determine the actual number of cryptic species present within the complex, to estimate their geographic distributions, and to predict the divergence history of these populations. This builds upon past evidence I have found that this species complex is actually composed of multiple cryptic species, and thus is in need of taxonomic revision. These questions will be primarily addressed through genome (RADSeq) sequencing and geographic data (Cytb haplotype networks, geographic barriers, etc.), using specimens collected across the overall habitat range.

Emma K. Roberts

emma roberts

Postdoctoral Researcher, Texas Tech University
Ph.D. Biology, Texas Tech University
B.S. Biology, Texas Tech University


My research focuses on the molecular evolution of gamete recognition, specifically the sperm protein called zonadhesin, and its unique contribution to mammalian speciation and evolution. My post-doctoral work focuses on two main projects:

1) Determining the effect of climate change on zoonotic and pathogenic agents and wildlife species across latitudinal and temporal gradients, as well as different ecosystems in the south-central United States

2) Continuing my dissertation research on zonadhesin evolution. Specifically, I am investigating the origin of the gene that encodes zonadhesin across vertebrates, characterizing zonadhesin's role in speciation among mammals at different stages of divergence (older species, sibling species, and hybrids), and characterizing differential evolutionary pressures of zonadhesin (e.g., domain duplication, selection) as a mechanism to alter gamete binding specificity and therefore maintain a reproductive isolation barrier to fertilization.

Emily Wright
Teaching Assistantteaching assistant

Ph.D. student, Biology, Texas Tech University
B.S. Zoology, Texas Tech University


After graduating from TTU with a B.S. in Zoology, I remained in Raiderland and began my MS in the summer of 2016 in Dr. Bradley's lab.  My thesis research focused on hybridization between mule and white-tailed deer.  This research currently is in press at the Journal of Mammalogy and has led to several other research questions involving the detection of contemporary hybrids and characterizing the variation of the prion protein gene across geographic populations.  Although deer genetics remains one of my areas of research, Itransitioned to the PhD program in 2020 to focus on the genetics and genomics of Texas desert bighorn sheep.  My dissertation involves the use of ancient DNA and contemporary genetic variation to characterize population structure, connectivity, and systematic status of Texas desert bighorn sheep by mitochondrial DNA and RADSeq techniques.  I am also exploring the genetics of an exotic wild sheep (aoudad) using similar methodologies.  After completing my PhD, I plan to continue my education and pursue a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine to specialize in the rehabilitation and reintroduction of species into their native habitats.  I am co-advised by Dr. Robert Bradley in the TTU Dept. of Biological Sciences and Dr. Warren Conway in the TTU Dept. of Natural Resources Management.


Sufia Akter NehaSufia Neha
Teaching Assistant

Ph.D. Student, Biology, Texas Tech University
M.S. Arid Land Studies, Texas Tech University
M.S. Zoology (Wildlife and Biodiversity Conservation), Jagannath University
B.S. Zoology, Jagannath University


Prior to joining Texas Tech University, I earned bachelor's and master's degrees in Zoology from Jagannath University in Bangladesh. I graduated in the summer of 2022 with an MS in Arid Land Studies from Texas Tech University. As part of my MS thesis in the Arid Land Studies program, my research focused on how spatial variation shapes gut microbiome diversity and composition in black-tailed prairie dogs in the Texas Panhandle region. To extend my current research as a biologist, I joined Dr. Robert D. Bradley's lab in the Department of Biological Sciences at Texas Tech University in the fall of 2022 to pursue my PhD. My doctoral dissertation focuses on structural and functional variations in gut microbiota in wild mammals and explores drivers that shape the patterns of molecular evolution and disease transmission. These ideas have implications for not only making management decisions but also for maintaining biodiversity and the functioning of ecosystems at a larger scale as they allow us to evaluate the risk of disease transmission and provide a richer understanding of evolutionary connections and biological invasions. With my ongoing and future research, I intend to combine molecular, ecological, and spatial data with various methods for understanding genetic viability, disease transmission, and prevention of biological invasions that have broader implications for human, environmental, and animal health. Upon completion of my PhD, I plan to pursue a postdoctoral position, which will provide a strong foundation for my future and a direction toward my career goal as a research scientist. 


Katelyn AlbrechtKatelyn Albrecht
Teaching Assistant

M.S. student, Biology, Texas Tech University
B.S. Biology, Texas Tech University


Born and raised in Lubbock, I completed my B.S. in Biology at Texas Tech University before making the decision to remain at TTU for the pursuit of my M.S. in the fall of 2022, where I am co-advised by Dr. Robert Bradley in the TTU Department of Biological Sciences and Dr. Richard Stevens in the TTU Department of Natural Resources Management.  Prior to formally joining Dr. Bradley's lab, I began work at the NSRL as a biological illustrator for an illustrated field guide to the mammals of Texas. This remains an ongoing project involving collaboration with various researchers and authors, NSRL staff, and use of mammal collections and voucher specimens. Additionally, this personal interest in art and animal form and function helped lead me to and prepare me for the focus of my thesis work: morphological analysis of Phyllostomid bats. The primary goal of my thesis research will be to investigate and identify probable patterns of allometry and modularity of skeletal wing elements throughout the entirety, or near entirety, of the clade using CT scans segmented and measured within the digital software Dragonfly. Biostatistical growth patterns will then be compared and further tested for origin of variance: phylogenetic influence of innate ecological diversity characteristic of Phyllostomidae. This information will be further compared to ear morphometric data for an investigation of ears as an aerodynamic feature of bats. Overall, I hope to uncover morphological patterns related to locomotion and further describe phenotypic variability in the context of phylogenetics and biodiversity. After the completion of my M.S., I plan to continue my education into a PhD and, hopefully, continue work with CT scan data to better define relationships between mammalian form and function both anatomically and genetically. 

Natural Science Research Laboratory