I am interested in researching the genetic and evolutionary factors that determine the morphology and physical properties of diatom frustules. Diatoms have always fascinated me with their elaborate and complex shapes, and I am curious to better understand the frustule as an adaptation. I am additionally curious to study the composition and molecular structure of the frustule, and how the diatom is able to mediate the biomineralization of such complex shapes.
Irene is a Global Disease Biology major and intends to become a pediatric nurse in the future. Her project is focused on the environmental factors and moon jellyfish’s mechanism in repairing external damage. She is most excited to learn about techniques and observe the lifecycle that makes these animals so unique.
I am fascinated by the discovery of genomic linkages between ostensibly unrelated organisms – far-flung, millions of years apart – yet an evolutionary thread of inheritance seems to run through them. And on the other hand, there are several examples of morphological similarities belying considerable genetic disparity – the so-called cryptic species.
I am most interested in learning the skills and techniques used by evolutionary biologists and paleobiologists to trace back these hidden and often tenuous connections – between genetics, physiological and morphological traits, and the environment – to further our understanding of life.
My research is focused on the effect of environmental factors on the physiology of moon jellyfish. Specifically, the process of reverse-development, which allows the jellyfish to go back on it’s lifecycle to repair damage. My goal is to understand the mechanisms of organisms with ancient body plans through observation of external structures, to eventually study the genetic factors that make them that way.
Originally from the Bay Area, Liyu is an undergraduate student currently working towards a B.S in Chemistry and a minor in Geology. Her interests have always lived within the walls of science and history, leading her curiosity to the development of early life and the geochemical evidence of said development. She is working alongside team members Chris and Tessa to further the dated dialogue concerning early demosponges and ancient algae by means of biomarker data and genetic phylogeny. Liyu is beyond excited to contribute to the unfinished puzzle that is early life evolution.