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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

SBCS PhD student receives prestigious Ernst Mayr award

On 22 June, PhD student Sandra Álvarez-Carretero from Queen Mary University of London’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences (SBCS) was awarded the Ernst Mayr award from the Society of Systematic Biologists (SSB) during their annual Evolution meeting in Providence, Rhode Island. 

Sandra on Stage

Sandra Álvarez-Carretero receiving the Ernst Mayr Award

Sandra received the award for her talk titled ‘Bayesian estimation of species divergence times using correlated quantitative characters’, based on a paper published in February 2019 with her supervisor Dr Mario dos Reis and collaborators Professor Anjali Goswami and Professor Ziheng Yang.

The Ernst Mayr Award

The Ernst Mayr Award is given to the presenter of the outstanding student talk in the field of systematics at the annual meetings of the SSB. It is the SSB's premier award and is judged by the quality and creativity of the research completed over the course of a student's PhD programme. After receiving initial submissions, the field was narrowed down to ten applicants, who all presented their talks at the Evolution meeting.

On receiving the award, Sandra said, “The talks were all very good and covered lots of interesting and cutting-edge research! I was just more than happy with having the opportunity to present my first talk at the Evolution meeting and the overall experience this involved, but I was not expecting anything more. I couldn’t believe it when they told me I was the winner.”

Sandra’s Research

Sandra joined Dr Mario dos Reis’ lab at Queen Mary in 2016 to do her PhD in Computational Biology. Her work involves using and developing Bayesian approaches that integrate quantitative morphological data and molecular data to study species divergence times. This involves the opportunity of working with a great variety of data, such as different species of animals or plants.

As part of the award, Sandra will receive $1000, a certificate of distinction, and a two-year subscription to the journal Systematic Biology. She is planning to obtain a Postdoctoral Research position after completing her PhD in 2020.

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