Klabacka Lab

at Utah Tech University

About Us

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Lab Mission Statement

We better ourselves by creating cooperative, inclusive, and productive interactions. We better our world by conducting ethical, purposeful, and practical scientific inquiry.

Lab Goals

  • Make discoveries in evolutionary genetics involving species/populations and their complex traits.
  • Train students in experimental design and laboratory/computational skills to help them investigate scientific questions
  • Prepare students for career/educational opportunities by providing resources, mentorship, and empowerment.

Lab Members

Randy Klabacka (PI)

I love learning about evolutionary processes driving patterns in reptiles. I am an assistant professor at Utah Tech University, where I teach genetics and bioinformatics and lead research in functional genomics, population genetics, and evolutionary physiology. When I'm not teaching or doing research, I enjoy going on outdoor adventures with my family (especially to look for cool wildlife), playing sports with friends, and enjoying good company.

Erin Bunch

Erin is a recent graduate with a background in biology and mathematics.

After taking a bioinformatics course as an undergraduate, she is now working on getting a Certificate of Bioinformatics.

She will be doing research on a genomics project in the lab.

Dante Celani

Dante Celani.

Bioinformatics major.


Baylee Christensen

I am currently a student at Utah Tech University, and am emphasizing in Bioinformatics. I’m part Utahn, part Michigander, and part Arizonian - I identify exclusively as such! I enjoy arid climates, freshwater lakes, mountaintop views, and shrubbery, but preferably, a mix of all of them together at once. I strive to support conservation and research in St. George Utah, as it is such an ecologically unique place! Some of my interests include finding rare/endemic plant species of the area, indoor and outdoor bouldering, playing tennis, caring for my houseplants, and learning more about Python!

Reagan McKee

Reagan is a bioinformatics major and is working on the CatPop population genomics package (which tests for divergence between biological gorups while accounting for population structure) and taking a genomics approach to understand the evolution of a freeze-resistant protein in frogs (in collaboration with Dr. Jeremy Bakelar in the Utah Tech Biological Sciences Department).

Alexander Everett

I am a bioinformatics student at Utah Tech, and my interests in the field of biology include medicine and pharmacology. After getting my bachelor's, I plan on going for a PhD and then working in the pharmaceutical industry. My ideal focus is oncology or psychiatric medicine. I spend his spare time writing creatively, having had some of my work published in literary magazines.

Vicente Fernandez Lara

I am Vicente Fernández Lara, an international student on my sophomore year at Utah Tech University.

I am majoring in Biology with natural sciences emphasis.

Lab Alumni

Candice Johnson

After finishing working on projects involving NGS read mapping and population genomics, Candice completed a bioinformatics internship at Stanford and is now preparing for graduate school.

Kasia Poulson

After working on a population genomics project as an honors project for the Principles of Genetics course, Kasia is working on completing her undergrad and preparing for med school