Generously funded by the Gerstner Family Foundation, the Gerstner Scholars program will encourage and support groundbreaking research in biology, with an emphasis on genomics, including such topics as microbes, mammals, invertebrates, marine life, and computational biology.
The work of scholars at AMNH co-supported through this competitive program will have implications for such broad themes as:
Chosen for their creative approaches to research questions that are likely to lead to important new discoveries in their respective fields, Gerstner Scholars will include biological scientists who have demonstrated outstanding performance that merits recognition early in their careers. Awardees must have received their degree or deposited their dissertation before they begin their appointment.
Dr. Aaron Heiss, Division of Invertebrate Zoology and RGGS
Dr. Adrien Perrard, Division of Invertebrate Zoology and RGGS
Research Interests: Systematics and evolution of snakes.
Ph. D: City University of New York Graduate Center, Biology (EEB), “Phylogenetics, Phylogeography, Historical Demography and Morphology of Milksnakes (genus Lampropeltis)”, 2012
Research Interests: Extinction and speciation of insular bats and the role of climate change on population structure and migration. Biogeography, ecological niche modeling, coalescent modeling, paleontology, phylogeography, and phylogenetics.
Ph.D.: Bat bones, climate, and clones: Extinction and phylogeography of Caribbean bats during the late Quaternary
Research Interests: The role of ontogeny in reconstructing phylogeny; fossil arthropods, especially Cambrian stem-group members and (pan) crustaceans; theoretical morphological and molecular phylogenetics; developmental gene evolution and its role in the Cambrian explosion; morphological data archiving.
Ph.D.: Yale University, Department of Geology & Geophysics; “Fossil, Molecular, and Developmental Approaches to Elucidate Pancrustacean Phylogeny,” 2012
Research Interests: Evolution and diversity of marine invertebrates, especially cnidarians (anemones, corals, jellyfish and their relatives); deep-sea biology, including dispersal, gene flow and genetic structure in extreme environments (such as Antarctica and chemosynthetic vents and seeps); molecular systematics and evolutionary history of the Class Anthozoa (current focus: sea anemones [actiniarians] and black corals [antipatharians]); evolution of mitochondrial (mt) gene order, gene content, and genome architecture. Tools employed: morphology, mt and nuclear DNA, genome architecture, molecular morphometrics (RNA secondary structure).
Ph.D.: University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Department of Biology; “Molecular Evolution in Black Corals (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Hexacorallia): Implications for Antipatharian Systematics,” 2011
Research Interests: Systematics, historical biogeography, and population dynamics of reptiles (primarily snakes); genomics; statistical methods of phylogenetics and population genetics.
Ph.D.: The City University of New York, Department of Biology; “Systematics and Historical Biogeography of Agkistrodon contortrix and Agkistrodon piscivorus” 2011
Research Interests: Neogene mammalian evolution in Africa and Asia; phylogenetics; paleoecology; biogeography; Bovidae; environment of human evolution.
Ph.D.: Yale University, Department of Geology & Geophysics, "Evolution, Systematics, and Paleoecology of Bovinae (Mammalia: Artiodactyla) from the Late Miocene to the Recent", 2009
Research Interests: Phylogeny and body size evolution of theropod dinosaurs, and understanding the non-avian dinosaur to bird evolutionary transition; anatomy and systematics of coelurosaurian theropods; Middle to Late Jurassic dinosaurian faunas; evolution of serially repetitive morphological structures; application of high-resolution CT technology to ontogenetic and phylogenetic studies.
Ph.D.: The George Washington University, Department of Biological Sciences; “Anatomy and Systematics of Coelurosaurian Theropods from Wucaiwan, People’s Republic of China, with Comments on the Evolution of the Theropod Forelimb,” 2010
Research Interests: Taxonomy, phylogenetic systematics, and biogeography of Neotropical amphibians; theory of systematics.
Ph.D.: University of Granada and Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (Madrid); “Integrative Taxonomy of Bolivian Eleutherodactylus and Oreobates (Amphibia: Anura),” 2007
Research Interests: Anatomy and phylogeny of early cynodonts and the evolutionary transitions leading to Mammalia; high-resolution CT methods
Ph.D.: University of Chicago, Committee on Evolutionary Biology; “Cranial Disparity in the Non-Mammalian Synapsida," 2009
Research Interests: Morphology of scorpions and their evolutionary history; high-resolution CT methods
Ph.D.: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Germany), Department of Biology, specialization in zoology, "Book-lung Morphology -- Implications for Arachnid Phylogeny (Arachnida, Chelicerata)," 2009