Clayton Lab Members


Jonathan B. Clayton, D.V.M., Ph.D. 

Principal Investigator 

Jonathan started his academic career in North Carolina where he was born and raised. After undergrad at Barton and obtaining his Certificate of Primatology at Duke, he moved on to obtain a Ph.D. and DVM at the University of Minnesota. In addition to his graduate studies involving primates, Jonathan founded the Primate Microbiome Project in his time as a PostDoc. He currently is overlooking a research lab and the Callitrichid Research Center (CRC, Marmoset Colony) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Beyond his love for primates, he also has a passion for research innovation, quality time spent with family, friends and colleagues, various athletic activities, and travel.  


Mackenzie E. Conrin, M.S.

Lab Manager, Technician 

Mackenzie has been a long-term Maverick. She received a Bachelor's of Science degree, majoring in Molecular & Biomedical Biology, followed by a Master's of Science degree in Biology. She gained four years of research experience working on characterizing Pseudomonas Bacteriophages. She currently manages a few labs on UNO's campus, while maintaining research, and dabbling in teaching. Beyond work, her favorite activities include mountain time, home renovation, interior design, landscape/ecosystem design, and maintaining health and happiness in all of her live-in plants and animals.   


Skyler Gebers

Undergraduate Researcher

Sky is currently pursuing his Bachelor' s of Science degree in Biology at UNO. He is a highly focused individual with a passion for studying microbes, hoping to one day be a microbiologist. He enjoys spending his free time playing games or Dungeons & Dragons with his friends and would be happy to receive hazelnut coffee after a long day in the Marmoset colony with the undergraduate cohort. 


Jenny Thompson

Part-time lab assistance 

 Jenny obtained a B.A. in Neuroscience and a B.S. in Biology at UNO. She has moved to her next educational goal attending graduate school at UNMC. With hopes of investigating neurobiological responses to daily choice behaviors- specifically in relation to mood disorders and cognitive impairments. As the dysfunctions of neural networks are typically well-established by the time diagnoses are made, her broader career goal is to explore feasible, age-independent mitigation strategies for individuals suffering from these types of socially isolating debilitations. Ultimately, she aims to increase the body of evidence for specific choice behaviors as feasible and empowering alternatives- or conservative supplements- to pharmaceutical interventions.


Shayda Azadmanesh

Post Baccalaureate Researcher

Shayda has also been a long-term Maverick. She received a Bachelor's of Science degree, majoring in Molecular & Biomedical Biology. Now she is pursuing a Master's of Science degree in Biology. Shayda began working with UNO's Callitrichid Research Center in 2017 and has assisted with all aspects of the colony (husbandry, enrichment, research).  In addition to her ongoing research in the Clayton lab, Shayda is a graduate teaching assistant for the biology department. Future goals remain elusive but most likely will revolve around monkeys. In her free time, Shayda enjoys creating artwork, being a female gamer, and reading true crime stories. 


Shivdeep Hayer, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Post Doctoral Researcher

Shiv finished his DVM training from GADVASU, India in 2011 and followed it by a Masters in Veterinary Medicine in 2013. He then shifted his focus to pursue research full time ad worked on public health projects in India. In 2015, he moved to University of Minnesota (Go Vikings!!) and studied antibiotic resistance in swine respiratory and zoonotic pathogens as part of his PhD. He has joined Clayton lab in 2019 to diversify his knowledge on gut bacterial communities and their impact on health and to gain additional computational skills. Shiv enjoys spending his time diving into the literature, listening to heavy metal, and following his favorite sporting events.   


Kirk Gasper

Bioinformatics Collaborator 

Kirk is a Biomedical Informatics Master's student. Some of his research interests include the gut microbiome, high performance scientific computing, biological interaction networks, algorithm development, machine learning, and natural language processing. Outside of academia, some of Kirk's hobbies include running, entertaining a Border Collie (a full time job), trying to keep plants alive, and traveling.


Bioinformatics Student 

Undergraduate Researcher

Pending, a new student hire will arrive Summer 2021!


Missy Briardy

Undergraduate Researcher

Missy is an undergraduate student at the University of Nebraska working towards her bachelors of science in Biology.  She minors in Anthropology and has interests ranging from Paleoanthropology and Evolutionary Biology to Theoretical Physics.  With the experience gained from her work in the Clayton lab her ultimate goal is to pursue a career in research.  She will be assisting in the Marmoset colony with the undergraduate cohort. Outside of academia, Missy enjoys painting, the great outdoors and working out. 


Aliyah Jabenis

Undergraduate Researcher

Aliyah is an undergraduate pursuing a bachelor's of Science in Biology here at UNO. She has dreams of becoming a Veterinarian with a focus on horse breeding and genetics. Aliyah is taking her time in Clayton lab as an opportunity to gain experience in wet and dry lab procedures alongside animal-related research. In her spare time, Aliyah enjoys reading, video games, and riding her horse.