My Background

About Me

My name is Erin Bentley and I am currently a PhD student in the Tank Lab at the University of Wyoming (UW), in the Program in Ecology and Evolution.

I received my undergraduate degree from UW in Animal Science, Pre-Veterinary track at the University of Wyoming in 2018, and worked as an undergraduate researcher in the Wildlife Genomics and Disease Ecology Lab under the mentorship of Dr. Holly Ernest. During my tenure in Dr. Ernest’s lab, I worked on disease dynamics of Chronic Wasting Disease and recieved a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) to design a video game and accompanying curricula to teach how habitat fragmentation and disease dynamics affect population persistence. This project was one of my first forays into science outreach, and was supported by the NSF Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Disease Award Impacts of Landscape Structure, Host Demography, and Management Interventions on Disease Dynamics.

I started my graduate journey with an about-face, deciding to pursue a graduate degree with an emphasis on population and conservation genetics under Dr. Alex Buerkle. When the Buerkle Lab concluded its operations in 2022, I moved to the Tank Lab to continue my research into the evolution and population genetics of the Penstemon genus, the affects of genetic diversity on the foliar microbiome, and how transdisciplinary education and outreach affects student and public perception and learning.

At the beginning of my graduate career I was fortunate to be given the chance to work on the Microbestiary Outreach Project, and have now been leading the project for several years!


Find my CV here.