Lauren A. O'Connell

Assistant Professor of Biology
pronouns: she/her/hers


Gilbert 306

Misha Bruk/Stanford University

I am interested in understanding how animals come up with new ways to face challenges and opportunities in their environment. These evolutionary innovations in physiology and behavior can teach us a lot about basic organismal biology, evolutionary mechanisms of adaptation, and how flexible organisms are to changing environments. I view my role in the lab as providing the resources and support for our team to accomplish their scientific questions and growth.

I grew up on a goat farm in rural Texas with a family of six. My parents are not academics and growing up low-income I did not have the social capital to navigate higher education. As a laboratory leader, I am committed to using my platform to hold myself and my academic community accountable by including and uplifting BIPOC, low-income, and first-generation students in the scientific process. My goal is for all the students I interact with to feel heard, appreciated, and valued. Training in my laboratory is focused on individual growth and professional development and I believe promoting compassion, empathy, and diversity in our team leads to happier people and more scientific innovation. To become equipped for this goal, I have completed over 60 hours of Mentorship Skill Development that includes the following modules:

  • The Science of Effective Mentorship
  • Optimizing the Practice of Mentoring
  • Leveling the Playing Field by Articulating Expectations
  • Improving Communication with your Mentee
  • Sharing Mentorship Challenges and Solutions
  • Culturally Aware Mentoring
  • Cultural Self-Awareness
  • Promoting Research Self-Efficacy
  • Raising Issues of Culture in the Research Mentoring Relationship
  • Putting Culturally Aware Principles into Practice

When not in the lab, I am hanging out with my three daughters and painting with watercolor and dreaming of one day getting back into raising goats and chickens.

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Positionality Statement: I am a 38 year old white woman living in the United States. I hold a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology and have been working in the field for the past 15 years. I recognize my position as a privileged white woman and my access to resources that are not available to everyone. I try to be mindful of my own biases and recognize how these may shape my research. I strive to listen actively to those with a different lived experience.