Rachel Welt

Rachel Welt speaks in front of a screen displaying an image of an iguana.

Pending Research Associate



  • 2014-present PhD in Comparative Biology Richard Gilder Graduate School, American Museum of Natural History
  • 2009-2012 MS, Biological Sciences, Fordham University. Concentration: Ecology & Systematics
  • 2010-2012 Advanced Certificate, Conservation Biology, Fordham University.
  • 2004-2008 BA, Biology, Conservation Biology, Columbia University. Concentrations: Environmental Biology, Pre-Medical Studies.
  • 2007 Summer Ecosystem Experience for Undergraduates (Columbia University) - Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, Coastal and Marine Biology, Conservation Biology, Field Ecology

Research Interests

Rachel began her scientific career in the field of medical research but a fascination with biodiversity motivated her to apply her molecular laboratory skills to studies in evolutionary and conservation biology. Rachel’s Masters thesis examined the impact of a climate change event on gene flow and population structuring in a naturalized plant in Southern California. Since finishing her Masters degree she has been at AMNH, using genetic techniques to identify previously unrecognized species of reptiles and amphibians in Madagascar. For her dissertation she is investigating the evolutionary history of the iguanas of Madagascar through an integration of genomic, ecological, and spatial data. This research aims to explain their origin on this island and historical biogeographic events driving generic and specific diversification, and to describe genetically and/or geographically distinct species lineages. The results of this work will help to elucidate the biogeographic mystery of the global distribution of extant iguanas and processes driving diversification on Madagascar, and revise the taxonomy and reassess the conservation status of species of this family.


In Prep.

  • RS Welt, D Kostyal, YD Gandaharen, JA Welt, V Raymond, & S Welt. in prep. Biologic effects of novel antibodies targeting membrane IgM. Clinical Cancer Research.


  • RS Welt, AJ Litt, & SF Franks. 2015. Analysis of population genetic structure and gene flow in an annual plant following a rapid evolutionary response to drought. AoB PLANTS. doi: 10.1093/aobpla/plv026.


  • YD Gandaharen, RS Welt, D Kostyal, & S Welt. 2012. Modulation of HER2 Tyrosine/Threonine Phosphorylation and Cell Signaling. pp. 357-374. In: C Huang (ed.). Protein Phosphorylation in Human Health. InTech, Rijeka, Croatia.
  • D Kostyal, RS Welt, J Danko, T Shay, C Lanning, K Horton, & S Welt. 2012. Trastuzamab and Lapatinib modulation of HER2 tyrosine/threonine phosphorylation and cell signaling. Medical Oncology, 29: 1486-1494.

Teaching Experience

  • 2012 Teacher’s Assistant, Human Physiology Lab, Fordham University
  • 2010-2011 Teacher’s Assistant, Ecology Lab, Fordham University
  • 2010 Teacher’s Assistant, Human Physiology Lab, Fordham University