Graduate News

Life Reconstruction. Original artwork created by scientific illustrator Davide Bonadonna.

Water-to-land transition in early tetrapods

November 25, 2020

The water-to-land transition is one of the most important and inspiring major transitions in vertebrate evolution. And the question of how and when tetrapods transitioned from water to land has long been a source of wonder and scientific debate.

Early ideas posited that drying-up-pools of water stranded fish on land and that being out of water provided the selective pressure to evolve more limb-like appendages to walk back to water. In the 1990s newly discovered specimens suggested that the first tetrapods retained many aquatic features, like gills and a tail fin, and that...

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OEB Darwin Shield

Congratulations November Graduates!

November 16, 2020

Congratulations to our PhD candidates who successfully defended and earned their doctorate November 2020!!

  • Meghan Blumstein (N. Michele Holbrook Lab), "The plastic and adaptive potential of sugar storage in temperate trees under climate change"
  • Liming Cai (Charles Davis Lab), "Phylogeny and genome evolution of the flowering plant clade Malpighiales"
  • Blake Dickson (Stephanie Pierce Lab), "Evolution of the tetrapod forelimb and functional morphology of the humerus...
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JEB Cover Photo by Roy and Marie Battell

Mallard ducks' vertical takeoff requires different hindlimb kinematics and muscle function

September 10, 2020

Mallard ducks are capable of performing a wide range of behaviors including nearly vertical takeoffs from both land and water. The hindlimb plays a key role during takeoffs for both; however, the amount of force needed differs in fluid and solid environments. In a new paper in the Journal of Experimental Biology, recent graduate Kari Taylor-Burt (PhD '20) and Prof. Andrew Biewener hypothesize that hindlimb joint motion and muscle shortening are faster...

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Ballerini and Kramer_PNAS Cover Art

POPOVICH gene controlling development of nectar spurs in Aquilegia

August 26, 2020

The evolution of novel features - traits such as wings or eyes - helps organisms make the most use of their environment and promotes increased diversification among species. Understanding the underlying genetic and developmental mechanisms involved in the origin of these traits is of great interest to evolutionary biologists.

The flowering plant Aquilegia, a genus of 60-70 species found in temperate meadows, woodlands and mountain tops around the world, is known for a novel feature - the nectar spur, which is important for pollination, and for the ecology and...

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Special Commendation for Extraordinary Teaching in Extraordinary Times

August 21, 2020

Congratulations to OEB professors and PhD candidates awarded Special Commendation for Extraordinary Teaching in Extraordinary Times in Spring 2020from Dean Claybaugh:

Scott Edwards (Faculty, OEB 190), Philip Fahn-Lai (TF, OEB 126), Dave Matthews (TF, OEB 53), Jacob Suissa (TF, OEB 52), Inbar Maayan (TF, OEB 167), James Hanken (Faculty, OEB 167) and Jenni Austiff (TF, OEB 167).

Hofstenia miamia regenerating head fragment 48 hours post-amputation with neural gene expression in yellow and stem cell gene expression in magenta.

Neural Architecture and Regeneration in Three-Banded Panther Worm

July 22, 2020

A major transition in animal evolution is the origin of bilateral symmetry, which coincided with the evolution of organized nervous systems. Animals with bilateral symmetry are known to prominently feature a complex brain with many different neural cell types located near the front of the animal's head. To understand the appearance of the brain and its diverse neurons studies of the nervous system in animals that diverged early from their ancestor lineage are needed.

In a study...

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MinYa

Min Ya Awarded GSAS Merit Fellowship

June 30, 2020
Congratulations to PhD Candidate Min Ya (Kramer Lab) awarded the GSAS Merit Fellowship in recognition of her academic talent and promise! 
Ryan Hulett

Ryan Hulett Awarded NIH Fellowship

June 29, 2020

Congratulations to PhD Candidate Ryan Hulett (Srivastava Lab) awarded the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research for his project titled, "Identifying genetic pathways and cellular sources for neural regeneration in adult animals"

The purpose of the Kirschstein-NRSA program is to enhance the diversity of the health-related research workforce by supporting the research training of predoctoral students from population groups that have been shown to be underrepresented in the...

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