I am an evolutionary biologist interested in social insects and their fossil record. The projects I am involved in are typically centered around understanding patterns of diversity, ecological impact, and the evolution of complex behavior in some of nature’s greatest success stories: ants and termites. More broadly, I use social insects as a system for testing concepts related to the integration of paleontological and genetic data, as well as novel imaging pipelines. [CV] [Webpage]


Ciara Mae Mendoza - Laboratory Technician

A native of New Jersey, Ciara received her Bachelor's degree in Biology from Rutgers–Newark in 2015 and is an experienced researcher with a background rooted in curation, morphology, and molecular techniques. While she has spent many hours with insect specimens (including work assisting with the description of a new cockroach species you can read about here), her ultimate research goals relate to molecular biology and genomics of multiple organisms.



Carlos is a recent graduate of Passaic County Community College and a current student at Rutgers University – Newark pursuing a bachelors degree in Biology. He is broadly interested in evolutionary and environmental biology. Most recently, Carlos has been working to better understand how social insects respond to recurrent flooding in South America. He has also worked on independent projects relating to the behavior of captive Brown Bears and the plausible conditions for life on other planets. 

Current Openings

The lab is currently expanding, with opportunities in the following positions:

  • Graduate Student (PhD/MS
  • Undergraduate Intern/Researcher
  • Postdoctoral Researcher 

If you would like to know more about joining the lab, please email barden [at] with your research interests and previous experience. If you're a student with no previous research experience, that's OK! Students and postdocs who are interested in social insects, paleoentomology, X-ray imaging, or comparative genomics are especially encouraged to apply.