oophaga sylvatica

Evolutionary innovations in physiology and behavior from molecules to organisms to ecosystems

Lauren O'Connell, Head of Laboratory

We study how genetic and environmental factors contribute to biological diversity and adaptation.

We are particularly interested in understanding (1) how behavior evolves through changes in brain function and (2) how animal physiology evolves through repurposing existing cellular components.


Our mission is to perform rigorous, ethical, and ecologically relevant science across many areas of organismal biology. We aspire to maintain an environment that fosters creativity, diversity, and inclusion as well as engagement with communities in the areas where we work.

We stand in solidarity with the BlackLivesMatter Movement. Scientists and the institutions we work in are complicit in centuries of racism and we will hold ourselves and our institutions accountable by using lab meetings to reflect on our own privileges and by demanding action from Stanford University. We will continue supporting the careers of our Black colleagues by inviting them to seminars, reading their papers, and promoting their work through collaboration and our social media spaces. We are committed to including classrooms in predominantly Black neighborhoods to our Frogger School Program.

tadpole and mother frog


drawing by Aurora Alvarez-Buylla