Damon Little is a 2005 graduate of the Department of Plant Biology (L.H. Bailey Hortorium). Damon finished his PhD with Kevin Nixon researching the evolution and circumscription of the Cupressaceae: Cupressus and Callitropsis. Damon continues to study this conifer family that includes the redwoods (Metasequoia, Sequoia, and Sequoiadendron), arborvitae (Thuja), junipers (Juniperus), and cypress (Callitropsis and Cupressus). After working three years as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Program for Molecular Studies at the New York Botanic Garden in the Bronx, Damon Little has been promoted to Assistant Curator of Bioinformatics at the Institute of Systematic Botany in the Cullman Program for Molecular Systematic Studies.
Damon’s research program, which is an extension of his graduate studies in the Department of Plant Biology, involves a three-pronged approach, involving organismal biology, phylogenetic theory, and information technology/bioinformatics. His organismal studies focus on integrating anatomical, morphological, and developmental information that can be used to inform cladistic analyses, which dovetail with his bioinformatics study of the performance evaluation of existing DNA barcoding algorithms. He has written a series of PERL scripts that operate in conjunction with a SQL database to gather and store morphological and taxonomic data.