The Minor Lab

UIC University of Illinois at Chicago




Current Lab Members

Amy Belaire, PhD Candidate

Amélie Davis, Postdoctoral Researcher

Andrew Dribin, PhD Student (Honorary lab member)

David Lowenstein, PhD student

Emily Minor, Assistant Professor

Alexandra Silva, MS Student

Click here for some lab photographs

Amy Belaire, PhD Candidate
Amy joined the lab in 2009 as an NSF-IGERT LEAP fellow and is working toward a PhD in the Department of Biological Sciences.  She received her bachelors degree from Rice University with a double major in Environmental Science/Engineering and Political Science and received a masters degree in Environmental Management from Duke University.  Her current research focuses on conservation and stewardship in human-dominated landscapes. This includes projects such as planning for wind farms in the migratory corridor of the endangered whooping crane and evaluating the conservation potential of residential neighborhoods around Chicago. Her professional experience includes environmental consulting and habitat conservation planning in Austin, Texas (2003-2005) and project coordinator and researcher for the Sustainable Sites Initiative (2007-2009).  She loves to be outside and is especially interested in landscape ecology, urban sustainability, and bridging the gap between science and management.

Amélie Davis, Postdoctoral Researcher

Amélie Davis is one of two postdoctoral researchers working on the NSF Urban Long-Term Research Areas Exploratory Research (ULTRA-Ex) grant titled “Connecting the Social and Ecological Sciences with Planners, Managers, and the Public: Building a Broad Foundation for the Chicago Region ULTRA”.  She is researching the connections between the biodiversity-recovery goals of the region-wide Green Infrastructure Vision of Chicago Wilderness and the delivery of critical ecosystem services (from the cultural to the biogeochemical) to human communities throughout the Chicago region. She received her B.A. degree in Biology from Earlham College, her M.S. degree in Oceanography from the University of Delaware at the former Center for Marine Studies and her Ph.D. from Purdue University in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. See her webpage for more information.

Andrew Dribin, PhD Student
Andrew is a doctoral student in the Department of Art History studying contemporary architecture and its relation to the environment (and vice versa). His research and intellectual agenda is to expand the discipline of architecture—for him, everything is architecture—and he looks to landscape ecology to help explore the broader implications of our emerging scientific understanding of the environment. Primarily using the Chicago area as a laboratory, his research interests span from the history of Henry Cowles’ Dune complex to the inner workings of Chicago’s Deep Tunnel sewer system to control its wastewater. He occasionally contributes to Mas Studio, a collaborative architecture and urban design firm:

David Lowenstein, PhD student

David's interests lie in entomology and ecology. Specifically, he has researched integrated pest management and wild pollinators. He completed a bachelors in biology at CUNY-Lehman College and a Masters in entomology at the University of Wisconsin. For his doctoral work, he will document the variation in pollinator communities across Chicago neighborhoods and the implications of this land on wildflower and crop fruit and seed set. He hopes to continue work in urban ecology and share the economic and environmental importance of insects with urban dwellers.

David's website:

Emily Minor, Assistant Professor
Emily completed her PhD in Ecology at Duke University in 2006. She was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Parks Ecological Research program (NPER) and did her postdoctoral work at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) Appalachian Lab. She came to UIC in 2008 as an assistant professor with a joint appointment in Biological Sciences and the Institute for Environmental Science and Policy. Her interest and expertise lie in understanding species distributions in urban and fragmented environments but lately her research has also been moving toward measuring and maximizing ecosystem services in urban areas. Click here for Emily's CV.

Alex Silva, MS Student
Alex completed her bachelor’s degree in animal science at Cornell University, after which she spent two summers leading National Geographic Student Expeditions trips throughout Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands. Between trips, she has worked and volunteered for environmental advocacy and education organizations in Chicago. Alex is now working towards her master’s degree in Ecology and Evolution. Her research will focus on bee pollination in Chicago’s urban landscape and evaluating the related ecosystem services. While at UIC, she will also be pursuing a secondary education teaching certificate, focused on biology and environmental science.