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Academic Staff


Muhammed Umair Ahsan

Postdoctoral Associate
Lab: Frank

Umair Ahsan is a postdoc working on long distance RNA signalling and plant grafting. He did his PhD from The University of Queensland Australia, working on molecular aspects of phase transition/flowering in horticultural tree crops under Small tree high productivity initiative.
He has completed MS in Genetics from Istanbul while BS in Agriculture from the University of Agriculture Faisalabad Pakistan.
His previous research work includes working in Aarhus University Denmark on Candidate gene identification in Lotus japonicus using insertional mutagenesis and genetic mapping. While his research work in BOKU Vienna Austria was focused on “virus-induced gene silencing and phenotyping for resistance against Fusarium head blight in Wheat

Nicole Chodkowski

Postdoctoral Associate
Lab: Specht

I am an active learning initiative (ALI) postdoc working to transition the Plant Morphology and Evolution, Herpetology, and Entomology courses from being taught as traditional lecture courses to active learning classrooms. I am helping to restructure the courses by creating modules/activities that give students both conceptual and practical skills in broad ecological and evolutionary topics like phylogeny and evolution, biogeography, and diversity using specific examples relevant to each course. I am also studying how implementing active learning strategies improve student learning of ecological and evolutionary concepts.
qian du

Qian Du

Postdoctoral Associate
Lab: Pawlowski

My research focuses on understanding mechanisms of meiotic recombination and how to utilize our knowledge to improve plant breeding.

Eugenio Valderrama Escallon

Postdoctoral Associate
Lab: Specht

I am interested in the processes that led to the high species richness in the Neotropical region, particularly in Colombia and the Northern Andes region. Addressing these processes integrating phylogenetics, comparative methods, phylogeography, systematics and plant taxonomy has been the focus of my research. The ginger family and its relatives are my study group and I am also interested in teaching and public outreach activities.