Passion for Science Triumphs Over Adversity

Biology has many students past and present from Puerto Rico, so when we heard about the terrible destruction from Hurricane Irma, we acted quickly. With the help of the Office of Research, we hosted Dr. Catherine Hulshof, a professor at University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez, so that she could continue her research and forge collaborations with UF while infrastructure was rebuilt. UF Professors Wayne and McDaniel also wrote a proposal to NSF and received funds to bring five graduate students to UF, so that they could continue their research and take advantages of unique opportunities here before returning home to finish their graduate studies. These students are continuing their work with world-renowned investigators in Biology and the Florida Museum of Natural History; they are at every seminar we have. Their excitement about biology is inspiring! We hope that when they return home, they’ll help bring UF scientists to Puerto Rico, too!

Jaaziel Garcia Hernandez is passionate about marine sponges, and is working with Dr. Gustav Paulay. Raiza Gonzalez Rodriguez is learning the latest on phylogenetics from Dr. Gordon Burleigh. Glorimar Franqui Rivera is a shark biologist, and is working with Drs. Gavin Naylor and Larry Page. She is delighted to have a broad exposure to marine biology and to take courses that simply aren’t available at her home institution. Edgardo Lopez Dejesus is studying genomic analysis with Charlie Baer, and Yoana Guzman Salgado is doing comparative genomics with Dr. Ed Braun, extending her studies of bacterial communities in compost piles. We are so fortunate to have these great students with us for spring semester.