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Dr. DolanErin Dolan, Ph.D


Eldolan at

Erin Dolan is a Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Georgia Athletic Association Professor of Innovative Science Education at the University of Georgia. As a graduate student in Neuroscience at University of California San Francisco, she volunteered extensively in K-12 schools, which prompted her to pursue a career in biology education. She teaches introductory biology and biochemistry, and her research group studies scalable ways of engaging students in science research and mentoring of undergraduate researchers in the life sciences. In 2014-2016, she served as founding Executive Director of the Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Sciences (TIDES), the teaching innovation initiative in the College of Natural Sciences at University of Texas Austin. She has designed and led a wide range of professional development on active learning and mentoring, including intensive sessions for faculty to develop course-based undergraduate research experiences. Her group's research and programming has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, including a support for CUREnet, a network of people and programs integrating research experiences into undergraduate courses. She just completed a decade of service as Editor-in-Chief of CBE – Life Sciences Education


PfeiferMariel Pfeifer, Ph.D

Postdoctoral Researcher

Mariel.Pfeifer at

Dr. Mariel Pfeifer is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Georgia. She earned her Ph.D. in Plant Biology at the University of Georgia where she received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and an ARCS Foundation award. As part of her dissertation, she conducted both bench and education research. Her bench research focused on understanding mechanisms of nuclear migration in the rice blast fungus as it colonized living host cells. Her education research focused on the self-advocacy experiences of STEM undergraduates with ADHD and specific learning disabilities. Prior to starting graduate school, Mariel worked as a disability services coordinator. It was in this role that she first became interested in self-advocacy. In the SPREE lab, she investigates science identity in research trainees. She plans to develop her own independent lines of research related to researcher identity development and to continue investigating self-advocacy in STEM students.


zakaMuhammad Zaka Asif                                                                                 

Graduate Research Associate 

Zaka.Asif at

I am interested in studying research as a context for learning. I study the effects of mentoring on students and different cultural contexts effect the conception of what it means to be a researcher, especially for South Asian students. I also study ways in which the quality management of training procedures can be done in the field of metabolomics research.


RileyRiley Hess

PhD Student

Riley.Hess at

Riley Hess is a third-year doctoral student in the Industrial-Organizational Psychology program at the University of Georgia. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology at the University of Kansas in 2017. With Dr. Dolan and Dr. Limeri, she conducts research to better understand the outcomes and correlates of negative mentoring experiences of undergraduate researchers in the life sciences. Her research interests also include the interaction of individual differences with job performance and the impact of artificial intelligence on workers and teams. 

Benjamin Listyg

PhD student

listyg at

TumaTrevor Tuma

Graduate Student 

Trevor.Tuma at

Trevor Tuma is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Georgia and co-advised by Drs. Erin Dolan and CJ Tsai. His research in the SPREE lab focuses on the mentoring experiences of graduate researchers in the life sciences. Mentorship is an essential component of graduate STEM graduate education, as high-quality mentorship contributes to the development and training of graduate students. However, mentoring relationships can also have dysfunctional elements. His work seeks to understand how these mentoring experiences contribute to the personal and professional outcomes of graduate students. His research interests broadly include mentoring and relational processes, the work-life interface, and career decision making in STEM fields.



The Lab Talk Team

During Fall 2022, the Lab Talk Team worked to qualitatively code transcripts of audio recordings from lab class sessions. Here is one of our weekly team meetings where we share research progress, discuss analytic challenges, and make decisions about next steps for the research. Pictured from right to left: Elizabeth (Liza) Wolfson, Avery Brotzman, Zarae Allen, Brandon Yoon, Arnav Adulla, C.J. Zajic, Fama Sarr, Kenneth Walton, Ashley Han, Ethan Keairnes, and Erin Dolan. Not pictured: Joon Kum and Claire Schneider.


MARLE Decisions team

The MARLE Decisions Team

During Fall 2022, the team working on the Momentary Assessment of Research Learning Environments (MARLE) project completed qualitative coding of the decisions undergraduates made as they engaged in life science research. The team is transitioning to writing up our results for publication! Pictured from right to left: Mariel Pfeifer, Sabrina Haider, E.D. Tisano, Jana Alkhatib, Meghan Blitchington, CJ Jain, and Erin Dolan.