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Laboratory Staff

Green Leaves

Dr. Janelle M. Burke, PhD.

Principal Investigator - Associate Professor

Mother of two, Cheese Lover


Daniel Koenneman

PhD Candidate - Current Lab Member

I am a graduate student at Howard pursuing my Ph.D. in biology. I did my undergraduate work at the University of Vermont and my master's degree at Claremont Graduate University and the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (now California Botanic Garden). As a member of the Burke lab I have contributed to phylogeny reconstruction efforts in the genus Rumex and floristics work at the nearby Wheaton Regional Park. My dissertation focuses on systematics in two genera of the tropical woody Polygonaceae: Coccoloba and Triplaris."


Tyler Colon 

Website Master - Undergraduate Student - Current Lab Member

Tyler Stewart Colón is a senior biology major, chemistry and Russian double minor from Harlem, New York. He has been an undergraduate research assistant in the Burke lab since the summer of 2019. He has assigned geographic coordinates to many of the Atlantic specimens in Howard’s herbarium and he assists with imaging new collections. Outside of the lab, he likes to garden, he volunteers locally with Howard’s alternative spring break (ASB) and volunteers abroad with his church, and he is a member of Howard’s premiere vocal jazz ensemble—AfroBlue. Upon graduation, he plans on going to medical school to pursue an MD, PhD in Neuroscience.        LinkedIn:

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Jayla Wade

Website Master - Undergraduate Student - Current Lab member

I am an undergraduate researcher at Howard University pursuing my B.S. in Environmental Science.  As a member of the Burke lab I have assisted in taxonomic/ phylogical research by preparing/ imaging herbarium specimens. This semester I get to assist characterizing how fungi Glomus forms mycorrhizal associations with Rumex. My research interests include botany and agroecology. May my participation in Dr. Burke’s Lab properly prepare me for a PhD in Botany/ Biological Sciences, and then a career as a Principle Investigator for a Government Agency. The ultimate goal of mine includes founding a botanical garden or interdisciplinary initiative which may host enrichment programs for high school students and research experiences for undergraduates. 


Green Leaves

Dr. Kirstie Grant, PhD.

PhD Alumna

I am a graduate of Howard University class of 2020. At Howard University, I completed my PhD working with plant species of the Rumex genus. Specifically, my research focused on the phylogenetic classification, highly diverse reproductive systems, origin of dioecy and heteromorphic sex chromosome systems, and associated phytochemicals of its included species. Currently, I am a Frederick Douglass Teaching Fellow at West Chester University as I continue my work with Rumex. I absolutely love music (singing and dancing), cooking, and chatting with peeps .

Green Leaves

Paige Hodges

Bachelors Alumna

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Emma-Jeane Wilkins

Bachelors Alumna

My name is Emma Jeanne Wilkin. I graduated from Howard University in 2020, and am currently attending Louisiana State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine where I will become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. I hope to practice on aquatic animals in the future. In Dr. Burke’s Lab, I completed my Honors Thesis entitled Investigating the Effect of Mycorrhizal Fungi Association on the Growth of Rumex spp. as well as working on digitization of the herbarium. In my spare time, I love to read, play with my dogs, and enjoy the outdoors. 

Green Leaves

Janet Mansaray

Bachelors Alumna

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Delecia Utley

Bachelors Alumna

Delecia is a 2018 graduate of Howard University with a BS in biology and minor in chemistry. While participating in the honors  program, Delecia was granted the opportunity to work in Dr. Burke’s lab. Delecia’s research focused on sex determination in Rumex Acetosa and related species. After graduating Delecia participated in an eight month professional internship program with the Walt Disney World Co. in Orlando, FL. Delecia worked as a plant science intern in four hydroponic greenhouses in the attraction —Living with the Land at Epcot. Currently, Delecia is a graduate student at North Carolina State University, pursuing a doctorate in Plant Biology and a minor in Biotechnology.

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