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Funded by the Stengl-Wyer Endowment, the Stengl Wyer Postdoctoral Scholars Program provides up to three years of independent support for talented postdoctoral researchers in the broad area of the diversity of life and/or organisms in their natural environments. Scholars can study any groups of organisms, at levels from genes to populations to communities to ecosystems, and can use any combination of approaches. The award competition is conducted annually. The form and timing of competitions may change in subsequent years.


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LIMING CAI

Liming Cai is a systematic biologist broadly interested in the study of phylogenetics and evolutionary genomics of plants. Her research integrates fieldwork, herbarium collections, and genomic analysis to characterize the patterns and drivers of biodiversity. Liming completed her PhD at Harvard where her research focused on the whole genome duplication, introgression, and horizontal gene transfer in the diverse plant clade Malpighiales. Her postdoctoral research was at UC Riverside on the functional genomics of gall-inducing aphids. As a Stengl-Wyer Scholar, she will work with Dr. Robert Jansen and Dr. Justin Havird​ to investigate the mysterious mitochondrial genome of parasitic plants.

CLICK HERE TO READ AN INTERVIEW WITH LIMING

 

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HARRY SIVITER

Harry Siviter conducted his PhD research at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK, where he studied the impact of novel insecticides on bumblebees. He joined UT as a post-doctoral researcher in 2020 in the lab of Dr. Felicity Muth. As a Stengl-Wyer Scholar in the labs of both Dr. Muth and Dr. Shalene Jha, he will study the impact of multiple environmental stressors on Texas bees, in an effort to understand the drivers of bee declines.

 

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UMMAT SOMJEE

Ummat Somjee studies the evolution of exaggerated sexually selected traits in animals. Ornamented feathers in birds, deer antlers, elephant tusks, and beetle horns are all examples of sexually selected traits. These traits can be large and are very diverse, yet take all take energy to grow and maintain. His research aims to understand how the energetic costs underlying these exaggerated traits may shape their evolution.

Ummat is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panamá. As a Stengl-Wyer Scholar, his faculty mentors are Dr. Justin Havird and Dr. Mike Ryan.