M O I  L A B 

from molecular evolution to global change ecology

Our questions and mission Will species evolve to climate change? Can evolution from pre-existing genetic diversity in species lead to rapid evolution to the environment? What is the genomic architecture of adaptation? What are the eco-physiological and life history traits involved in plant climate adaptation? Can we use novel molecular biology to engineer adaptation? Can we deploy global monitoring technologies to track and diagnose species and ecosystem declines and reliably guide sustainability policies? 

Expertise and group research To address the above questions, our lab integrates multiple disciplines, from plant experimental ecology, to evolutionary genetics, to molecular biology, and computer science. Some of our work has dealt with understanding the rate at which new DNA mutations occur per generation in plant populations, what is the ecological relevance of genetic variation along the genome. We have pioneered methods to create geographic maps cataloging genetic variation of a species to anticipate the differential threats of climate change to its different populations. An important current project of the lab is a distributed global evolution experiment, GrENE-net.org, which aims to test the evolvability of the plant Arabidopsis thaliana in many climates around the world. Using the same plant model, we are trying to modify adaptive ecological traits in the lab using CRISPR-based genome editing. We have also created methods to track the loss of evolutionary potential of species from habitat losses. We hope our efforts will help us to fundamentally understand evolution, ecology, and genetics, of a species in relation to climate.

Diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, and justice. We strive to be and welcome a diverse and inclusive lab and scientific community, and denounce racism, xenophobia, and any kind of violence.

Open science We make our research open to the public, posting papers on bioRxiv.org and making code and data available GitHub.comDatadryad.org,  or Figshare.com. PDFs of all of our publications can also be found under subpage papers.

Affiliations and home. As of 2024, our lab will be homed at the University of California Berkeley (www.berkeley.edu), department of Integrative Biology (ib.berkeley.edu, Center for Theoretical Evolutionary Genetics), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (www.hhmi.org), and is affiliated member to the  Institute of Innovative Genomics (innovativegenomics.org). 

Our lab was founded in 2019 at the Department of Plant Biology of the Carnegie Institution for Science and Stanford University.

Latest news & blog posts

#MOILAB  summer talks and posters

SMBE 2024 Mexico

Kristy Mualim - poster Wednesday, 10th July, 1.30pm "Unveiling the functional dynamics of noncoding DNA: A deep learning approach with Arabidopsis thaliana"

ICAR 2024 San Diego

Moi - talk Wednesday, 17 5:54 pm " Rapid evolution to climates along 

the Arabidopsis genome" 

Jinseul Kyung - poster Tuesday, 16th July, 8pm "Disentangling the genetic trade-offs  between flowering time and water use efficiency"

Evolution 2024 Montreal

Laura Leventhal - talk Monday July 29, 10am, "Four range limit hypotheses tested in a climate manipulated common garden"

Kristy Mualim - talk Saturday, 27th July, 9.45am. "Genetic diversity loss continues long after habitat destruction ends"

Tatiana Bellagio - talk  July 28, 2024  at 3 30 pm "Polygenicity effects on rapid adaptation to new environments"

Moi - talk July 29, 2024,  4:15 PM " Rapid evolution to climates along 

the Arabidopsis genome" 

Ecological Society of America 2024 Montreal

Laura Leventhal - talk August 8, time TBD, "The impact of population genetic makeup along an environmental gradient: insights from an Arabidopsis common garden"

DOE meeting DC

Xing Wu - talk  Aug 1st. 739 "Genomes Reveal Natural Variation and Adaptation History in Pennycress"

GRC Salt and Drought stress

Moi - talk TBD " Rapid evolution to climates along the Arabidopsis genome"

#MOILAB  summer talks and posters

Moi  received the Spanish' Princess of Girona price for his work on evolutionary adaptation of species to climate change

Press: https://www.fpdgi.org/es/actualidad/noticias/moises-exposito-alonso-premio-princesa-de-girona-investigacion-2024-2/ 

Laura receives the 2024 ASN Student Research Award for her work investigating the genetic and environmental determinants of rapid adaptation through field experiments

Press release: https://www.amnat.org/announcements/Student-Research-Award-2024.html

Moi  presenting his Tansley Medal talk at New Phytologist Now
Register link -> https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/5816970187871/WN_ZtWKtIxnRaavGldkg0eQAw#/registration

#MOILAB  presenting at GEO BON global conference

Oct 11 9:30 AM  Kristy Mualim "Dynamics of genetic diversity loss after habitat loss" (International I)

Oct 11 9:30 AM  Oliver Selmoni "From satellites to genes: predicting coral evolution in warming oceans" (International I)

Oct 11 11:30 AM  Moi Exposito-Alonso "Predicting genetic diversity loss in the Anthropocene" (International II)

Oct 11 11:30 AM  Lauren Gillespie "Mapping plant biodiversity from the skies using open science, remote sensing, and deep learning" (International II)

2023 09 14 The #MOILAB  is moving to BERKELEY in 2024! 

We are super excited to announce the news of our lab's next, long-term phase at the University of California Berkeley. Our lab will also begin at the same time its phase as part of  the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI)

This new home will continue catalyzing our strong evolutionary genetics research area within the Center for Theoretical Evolutionary Genetics, and allow us to expand into new directions of global biodiversity, with links to the UC & Jepson Herbaria, and supercharge the lab's efforts in gene editing as member of the Innovative Genomics Institute

We are recruiting at all levels (PhD students, tech, Postdoc, Staff Scientists) to join this new lab adventure!


#MOILAB  presenters at Ecology Society of America 2023

Aug 9 10:00 AM  Lauren Gillespie "Mapping plant communities from above using deep learning, citizen science, and remote sensing" (Room TBD)

Aug 7 at 1:50 PM Meixi Lin "Genetic extinction vortex: feedbacks between species range and adaptability loss in the Anthropocene" (Room 258)

#MOILAB  presenters at Society of Molecular Biology & Evolution 2023, GRC Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics, and American Society of Plant Biology 2023

July 26 at 10:30 am  Moi Exposito-Alonso.  "The genomics of species range contraction in the Anthropocene" (New Frontiers in Conservation Genomics) (Location: AD1)

July 31 at 7:40 pm Moi Exposito-Alonso "The Genomics of Adaptation and Extinction in the Anthropocene"

Aug 2 at 1:45 pm  Moi Exposito-Alonso.  "Rapid evolution across climates in globally-distributed experiments of an annual herb" (Location: Meeting Room 105-106)

#MOILAB  presenters at Botany 2023

July 24 at 2:15 pm  Laura Leventhal.  "Four range limit hypotheses tested in a climate manipulated common garden using natural accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana" (Ecology 2: Plant Responses to the Environment)

#MOILAB  presenters at Evolution 2023

June 22 - 11:15 AM @ Pecos 230  - Lauren Gillespie "Mapping plant biodiversity from the skies using open science, remote sensing, and deep learning" (Biogeography II session)

June 22 - 3 PM @ Mesilla 235 - Tatiana Bellagio  "Benchmarking GEA models to identify rapid evolution across climates in globally-distributed experiments of an annual herb" (Experimental Evolution I)

June 22 3:15 PM  @ Pecos 230 - Kristy Mualim "Genetic diversity loss continues long after habitat destruction ends"  (Conservation Biology I)

June 23 10:15 AM @ Pecos  230 - Laura Leventhal  "Four range limit hypotheses tested in climate-manipulated common garden" (Adaptation III)

June 23 - 4:30 PM  @ Brazos 115 - Lucas Czech "Population genetic statistics for the next generation of pool sequencing" (Population Genetics Theory - Methods II)

2023 05 20 Lucas' grenedalf software is in arXiv

Lucas created a tool for manipulating and conducting statistics for pool-sequencing data to study rapid evolutionary dynamics!


2023 05 25 BIG UPDATE on Lauren's deepbiosphere in bioRxiv! Lauren used deep learning to connect high-resolution airborne images with plant species reported in iNaturalist in a new generation of niche models!


2023 2 16  Moi is recognized with the Early Career Faculty Award from the American Society of Plant Biology for exelence in plant genetics!

2023 5 9  The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) selected Moi as one of the 31 new Freeman Hrabowski Scholars, outstanding early career faculty in science who have potential to become leaders in their research fields and to create diverse and inclusive lab environments in which everyone can thrive.



2023 5  Xing got awarded the postdoc fellowship of the Stanford center for Computational, Evolutionary and Human Genomics. Congrats Xing!

2023 2 16  Moi is recognized with the Tansley Medal for exelence in plant science!

2022 12 07  Moi will be attending delegate in the United Nations' Convention on Biological diversity!
Follow https://twitter.com/MExpositoAlonso  in Twitter for updates on genetic diversity goal discussions



Moi is putting resources together about genetic diversity targets under www.moilab.science/cop15

2022 10 25 New collaborative preprint with Bergmann lab led by Patricia Lang on Arabidopsis herbaria to track adaptation to climate change!

Twitter thread from Patricia Lang https://twitter.com/plantricia/status/1585296493849649154 

2022 09 05-18 Moi talking in the EPFL in Switzerland for its 20th anniversary of life sciences, SMBE symposium in Evolutionary Rescue in Kiel Germany, and WeigelFest  in the  Max Planck of Biology Tübingen in Germany.

2022 08 The MOI LAB got a multidisciplinary grant with Moi as co-PI! The grant is a new NSF Biology Integration Institute called WALII "Water and Life Interface Institute" 

Check out the website! walii.science
NSF announcement: https://beta.nsf.gov/news/integrative-biological-science-and-training-are-focus-4-new-institutes 

2022 08 16 Lauren's paper "deepbiosphere" is out in bioRxiv! Lauren used deep learning to connect high-resolution airborne images with plant species reported in iNaturalist in a new generation of niche models!


2022 08 077 Lauren talking at the Ecological Society of America! Explaining her new bioRxiv paper to create multi-species distribution models with satellite data!

Preprint http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2022.08.16.504150

2022 06 27 Moi talking at the WorldBiodiversityForum.org! Explaining and giving global projections of genetic diversity loss. 

Preprint https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.10.13.464000v1

2022 06 07  Moi Lab at PEGQ22!

Laura presented her poster on a new outdoor field experiment (link here), Megan presented her poster on genetic constraints to adaptation (link here),  Lucas presented his poster on grenepipe & grenedalf tools (link here) for the GrENE-net project. Moi presented his poster on genetic diversity loss (link here). 

2022 02 04  Preprint led by Lucas and Ru in bioRxiv "Monitoring rapid evolution of plant populations at scale with Pool-Sequencing"!
This is the first of a saga of papers about the globally-distributed evolution experiment  with A thaliana called GrENE-net

2022 1 12 Collaborative paper led by Grey Monroe and colleagues in Nature "Mutation bias reflects natural selection in Arabidopsis thaliana"!  

2021 11 15 The lab led by graduate student Laura Leventhal with lot's of support from postdoc Megan Ruffley and other lab members just launched the largest Arabidopsis field experiment

More pics here

2021 11  New collaborative paper with the Dinneny lab in bioRxiv! "Uncovering natural variation in root system architecture and growth dynamics using a robotics-assisted phenomics platform"
Preprint https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.10.13.464000v1

2021 03  New collaborative paper with Joseph Matheson and Joana Masel in bioRxiv! "Haldane's cost of selection imposes a mild constraint on adaptation, with a high proportion of deaths in A. thaliana being selective"
Preprint https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.10.13.464000v1

2021 10 16 New collaborative paper with the Vasseur & Violle labs in bioRxiv! "Into the range: a latitudinal gradient or a center-margins differentiation of ecological strategies in Arabidopsis thaliana?"
Preprint http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/2021.10.15.461205

2020 10 - 2021 10  Moi featured in "Fascination of Science" book and art exhibition featuring 60 Nobel prizes and 4 young researchers by the photographer and artist Herlinde Koelbl

click here

2021 10 15 New lab paper in bioRxiv! Quantifying how much genetic diversity is lost due to global change-driven ecosystem transformations will help track progress in the United Nation's sustainability goals. Congrats everyone!

Preprint https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.10.13.464000v1
Twitter thread https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1449158576975482880.html 

2021 08 04 Graduate student Lauren Gillespie presenting her research at the Ecological  Society of America meeting! Go Lauren!

2021 07 06 Collaborative paper with the Rhee and Gitler labs out in Cell -- including Moi and Postdoc Researcher Shannon Hateley!

2021 06 24 Graduate student Laura Leventhal was awarded  the Lewontin Early Award from the Society for the Study of Evolution! Congrats Laura!

2021 06 23 Postdoc Researcher Megan Ruffley was awarded  the Plant Genome Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Biology from the National Science Foundation! Congrats Megan! [read Carnegie's PR]

2021 06 24 Moi presenting at ICAR 2020!
*Rapid evolution in globally-distributed field experiments of A. thaliana* Aka. the  @GrENE_net project
Jun 24 - 3 pm (PST)

2021 06 21 Moi and Lucas presenting talks at Evolution 2021!
*Efficient analysis of allele frequency variation from whole-genome pool-seq data*
Jun 21 - 2:20 pm (PST) [VIDEO MP4]
*Rapid evolution in globally-distributed field experiments of A. thaliana* Aka. the  @GrENE_net project
Jun 21 - 7 am (PST) [VIDEO MP4]

Lucas evolution 2021 talk.mp4

2021 03 30 A new paper by Lucas Czech describing his "grenepipe" pipeline was published on arXiv.org! software on Github!

2021 02 10 A new paper by C Rellstab, B Dauphin and Moi just came out in Evolutionary Applications

2021 01 14 Graduate student Lauren Gillespie is giving a talk at NASA JPL on her satellite 2 species prediction model "deepbiosphere"

2021 01 11 Moi giving a talk in the Young Investigator Prize symposium at the American Naturalist 2021 Meeting #VirtualAsilomar2021

2020 12 7-11 Lauren speaking in Women in Machine Learning section @ NeurIPS and  AGU presenting her work on Deep Learning of biodiversity with remote  sensing and user identifications of species! 

2020 11 10 The lab receives a grant from conservation non-profit ReviveRestore.org with Jeremy Yoder to study Joshua Tree genomes!

click here 

2020 10 Our lab gets a NIH Director's High-Risk High-Reward grant! 

click here and https://commonfund.nih.gov/earlyindependence/AwardRecipients 

2020 08 Lab recruiting 4 postdocs! Check out the latest ad in our join us page!

2020  07 28 Our lab receives a large grant from the Department of Energy with a consortium of plant biologists!

click here

2020  03 15 Our Non-Additive Polygenic method with Nielsen in bioRxiv!

click here

2020  06 18 Collaborative paper with Monroe and Weigel labs in bioRxiv!

click here


2020  06 17 Moi received the Otto Hahn Medal from the Max Planck Society! 

click here  

2020  03 17 Moi named Forbes 30 under 30! 

click here

2020  02 21 A commentary/re-analysis of Arabidopsis life history strategies just live in PNAS!

click here

2020  02 12 Moi receives the Young Investigator Prize of the American Society of Naturalists

click here

2020  01 30 Long publication times (another reason to bioRxive your paper)

click here

2019  08 27 Paper in Nature: "Natural selection on the Arabidopsis thaliana genome in present and future climates"

click here

2019 01 17  Preprints and Morale of PhD students

click here

The lab is supported by: