Fresh Insights into UW Biology: Part 3
Enjoy our third and final installment of getting to know the first years. Thanks to Melissa Steele-Ogus
Zander Fodor is also studying ctenophores in Billie Swalla's lab, but his research tackles a different question: whether or not these ancient animals possess a mesoderm. He hopes to discover the evolution of this tissue layer, which could help give clues to the body plan of the common ancestor of all extant animals. He was impressed with how much UW appeared to care for its graduate students and to ensure their success. Thus far, Zander has been working very hard, but also having a lot of fun. He says "I am very glad that I ended up coming to the UW."
Spotlight on Itzue Caviedes SolisItzue, who originally hails from Mexico, is one of the newest herpetologists to join Adam Leaché's lab. She worked with Mexican herpetofauna in her undergrad at La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and her main interest is in the evolution and systematics of hylid frogs (tree frogs!). For her master's degree, she performed a multi-locus phylogeny with the Plectrohyla bistincta group and she would like to keep working on hylid frogs from Middle America for her Ph.D.
The strength of UW Biology and the Leaché lab in evolution of amphibians and reptiles led her to this department. Her experience in the first quarter was challenging, having to adjust to the differences in the language, culture, and weather, but she found these difficulties were alleviated by the support from the department. Itzue says "There is always someone whom you can talk to," and notes in particular the great mentorship from her principal advisor, the friendly environment between the labs, and the attitudes of the other grads: "I never saw grad students so happy before." In addition to the connections she has formed within the department, Itzue has also found many opportunities for outreach to the Seattle community, such as greenhouse and Burke museum tours. Itzue feels lucky to be at Biology department in UW.