• 2011-Present: Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
    Ph.D. Candidate, Integrative Biology
    Major Advisor: Dee R. Denver
    Dissertation Committee: Virginia Weis, Eli Meyer, Joey Spatafora, and
    Aaron Liston
  • 2014-Present: Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
    Graduate Certificate in College and University Teaching
  • 2006-2010: Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
    B.S. in Biochemistry and Genetics
    GPR: 3.857

additional Research Experience

  • 2010-2011: Research Assistant, Arkansas Biosciences Institute, Jonesboro, AR
    Statistical analysis of GC-MS data and qPCR for gene expression study in mouse.  Supervisor: Dr. Roger Buchanan.
  • 2009: Field Assistant, West Indies Marine Animal Research and Conservation Service, St. Croix, USVI
    Conservation management and collection of biological data for nesting population of leatherback sea turtles (3 months).  Supervisor: Dr. Jeanne Garner.
  • 2008-2010: Research Technician, Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab
    Diagnostic endocrinology, including radio-immunoassay.  Supervisor: Dr. Scott Jaques.
  • 2007-2010: University Undergraduate Research Scholar, Texas A&M University
    Molecular genetics, including DNA cloning in bacteria and protein expression in Xenopus oocytes, to develop an improved extracellular domain model of the 5HT3 serotonin receptor. Work culminated in undergraduate honors thesis.  Supervisor: Dr. Gregg Wells.

Awards and honors

2016     University of Washington Summer Institute in Statistical Genetics Tuition Scholarship ($900)
2015     OSU Graduate Student Travel Award ($1000)
2015     Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE) Travel Award ($500)
2014     Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Short Term Fellowship ($3000)
2013-2015     OSU Zoology Research Award ($1200)
2013      OSU Graduate Internationalization Grant ($1200)
2013      Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) Libbie H. Hyman Memorial Scholarship ($1500, declined)
2011      NSF Graduate Research Fellowship ($121500)
2011      OSU Provost’s Distinguished Fellowship ($30000)
2010, 2007     Arkansas Biosciences Institute Summer Support Scholarship ($4000)
2009     First Place in Poster Competition, Texas A&M Student Research Week ($300)
2008     University Undergraduate Research Scholarship ($300)
2008     Herman F. Heep Scholarship ($1000)
2006     Texas A&M President’s Endowed Scholarship ($12000)
2006     Texas A&M Director’s Excellence Award ($10000)
2006     Texas A&M National Merit Recognition Award ($20000)
2006     National Merit Scholarship ($1000)
2006     R. C. Byrd Scholarship ($6000)


E.S. Bellis, D.K. Howe, and D.R. Denver (2016). Genome-wide polymorphism and signatures of selection in the symbiotic sea anemone Aiptasia.  BMC Genomics 17: 160. DOI: 10.1186/s12864-016-2488-6.

W.S. Philips, A.L Coleman-Hulbert, E.S. Weiss, D.K. Howe, S. Ping, R.I. Wernick, S. Estes, and D.R. Denver (2015). Selfish mitochondrial DNA proliferates in small, but not large, populations of Caenorhabditis briggsaeGenome Biology and Evolution 7: 2023-2037. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evv116.

A. Emblem, S. Okkenhaug, E.S. Weiss, D.R. Denver, B.O. Karlsen, T. Moum, S.D. Johansen (2014). Sea anemones possess dynamic mitogenome structures. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 75: 184-193. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2014.02.016.

E.S. Bellis and D.R. Denver. Natural variation in responses to acute heat- and cold-stress  in a sea anemone model system for coral bleaching (in review).

Invited seminars

2015:  The Corvallis Academy of Lifelong Learners.  From primordial soup to Earth du jour: Best recipes for how life began. Corvallis, OR
2014: The OSU Bioinformatics Users Group.  Methods for bioinformatic separation of host and symbiont DNA sequences. Corvallis, OR.

ContributED TALKS

2016:  Yosemite Symbiosis Workshop.  Ecological dynamics of a model cnidarian symbiosis in Caribbean Panama. May 6-8.

2016:  American Society of Naturalists.  My own worst anemone: Natural variation in symbiosis breakdown under two thermal stress regimes. Jan. 10-14.

2015:  Evolution.  Genome evolution in Aiptasia: High heterozygosity and scans for selection in a symbiotic sea anemone. Guaruja, Brazil. June 26-30.


2014     *A.K. Vercruyssen, E.S. Weiss, and D.R. Denver.  Evolutionary dynamics of selfish genetic elements in the mitochondria of Oregon Coast sea anemones. Celebrating Undergraduate Excellence, Corvallis OR.   *Undergraduate mentee

2014     E.S. Weiss, D.K. Howe, and D.R. Denver.  Minimalist Genomics: Detecting signatures of selection in a model symbiotic sea anemone with low coverage and no reference. CGRB Spring Conference, Corvallis, OR.

2012     E.S. Weiss, D.K. Howe, and D.R. Denver.  Selfish elements in sea anemone mitogenomes have elevated rates of evolution.  CGRB Fall Conference, Corvallis, OR.

2012    E.S. Weiss and D.R. Denver. Modeling the evolution of phenotypic plasticity in Anthozoa: Temperature and bleaching response in corals and sea anemones.  Evolutionary Biology in the Pacific Northwest (EVO-WIBO), Port Townsend, WA.  

2009     E.S. Weiss. Size, Solubility, and the Serotonin-gated Ion Channel Receptor: In Search of an Improved Extracellular Domain Model. Texas A&M Student Research Week, College Station, TX.  **Awarded First Place in student competition**


  • 2014-2015: Graduate Student Representative, American Society of Naturalists (ASN) Executive Council.
  • 2012-2015: ASN Graduate Council.  Served on the Workshop Committee (2012-2013 and 2014-2015) and the Student Awards Committee (2013-2014).  Coordinated the ASN Student Mixer at Evolution 2015 in Brazil.  Led effort for initiation of ASN Grads website.
  • 2015: Graduate Student Representative, Hiring Committee for Tenure-Track Quantitative Systems Biologist.
  • 2014-2015: OSU IB Department Graduate Student Invited Speaker Committee
  • 2014-2015: OSU IB Department Fundraising Committee
  • 2012-2013: OSU IB Department Outreach and PR Committee
  • 2012-2013: OSU IB Department Website Committee
  • 2012: Developed coral bleaching activity for 16 3rd-5th grade girls for the AWSEM club at Garfield Elementary in Corvallis, OR; activity included live animals.
  • 2012: Coordinated laboratory activities for 48 11th graders participating in the GEAR-UP Natural Resources Camp on the OSU campus; activity included live animals.
  • 2012: Led activity for 15 visiting high school students as part of Darwin’s Legacy, an event on the OSU campus hosted by IB graduate students.

additional skills

Working knowledge of Spanish and French, PADI Advanced Open Water Diver, maintenance of saltwater aquaria, proficiency in R, perl, UNIX/LINUX, and cluster computing environments