Principal Investigator

Sarah Stellwagen – Assistant Professor
Biological Sciences Ph.D., Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, Virginia Tech, 2015.
Entomology M.S., Clemson University, 2011.
Biological Sciences B.A., Minor: Entomology, Clemson University, 2008.


Dr. Tyler Brown

We are excited to welcome Dr. Tyler Brown to the team starting Fall 2024! Dr. Brown is interested in investigating arthropod evolution using novel behavioral and genetic methods. Having previously studied sexual conflict in Opiliones, he is now researching phenotypic plasticity in Keroplatidae glow worms. Beyond research, Dr. Brown also values scientific education and outreach.

Graduate Students

Hannah Faye

Hannah started her Ph.D. in January 2024. She loves to learn more about invertebrates through the microscopic landscape of the cellular world and is always excited to find answers using molecular and genetic techniques. Hannah aspires to apply her expertise to conservation efforts in order to help preserve and protect the biodiversity of the planet. 

Sal DeAndrea

Sal will be continuing in the lab as a Ph.D. student, officially starting in Fall 2024! He is passionate about the environment and leveraging insects and other organisms to produce bio-based materials.

Ella Kellner

Ella will be continuing in the lab as an M.S. student, officially starting in Fall 2024! She is curious about the evolutionary pathway of silks and what can be learned by comparing silks of different invertebrate species.


Hope Hulse

Hope started as an undergraduate in the Spring of 2024. She is interested in studying insects and arachnids, as well as examining what makes them function and why.

Previous Lab members

Abby Warren

Prospective Graduate and Undergraduate Students

The Stellwagen Lab does not currently have any open graduate student (through 2025) or postdoc positions. Undergraduate openings vary based on semester, please send an email inquiry about undergraduate positions.

I give mentorship preference to students whose interests generally overlap with mine. I focus on spiders (or other arachnids and arthropods that produce relevant materials) in an effort to understand the relationship between the functional aspects of natural biological materials (like silks) and the molecular underpinnings that influence these functional differences.

Charlotte undergraduate students are encouraged to contact me directly about opportunities to conduct research in my laboratory. These opportunities include participation in the Honors Program, as Undergraduate Research for credit (BIOL 3900), for regular hourly pay, or on a volunteer basis.

While ideal candidates for the Master’s or Ph.D. program will have had previous research experience to develop general bench skills and some experience or interest in computational biology, enthusiasm and excitement for my area of research is the most important criteria I will consider. Research is challenging and working through problems and difficulties takes dedication – burn out can be quick if the excitement isn’t there. The lab combines sequencing and material property data, so students should be intellectually interested in including sequence data with their projects. Charlotte is a great environment to for integrative research and I envision students in my lab pursuing projects that include field, lab, and computational components.

If you are interested in joining, please send me an email at explaining your interest in biomaterials research, arachnology, arthropods, or other interests that might align with the lab. Please note that space is limited for undergraduates – preference will go to students that are on an organism/ecology/evolution career trajectory. Biomedical students are welcome to inquire about positions, however the experience and skills gained in my lab won’t apply as directly to your career goals.

Everyone is welcome Here

The Stellwagen Lab welcomes all students!

Consistent with the College of Science’s (CoS) dedication to critical thinking and engaged citizenship, we hereby affirm our commitment to diversity, access, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of our lab’s teaching, scholarship, and professional activities. Our lives, perspectives, and practices are enriched when we actively engage in discourse and inclusive actions around complex ideas and issues, whether they pertain to race and ethnicity; sex; gender identity; political viewpoints; sexual orientation; special health needs; age; belief system; country of origin; or socio-economic status.