Graduate Student Excellence-in-Research Awards 2018
Kyle Benowitz, a doctoral graduate in genetics, has distinguished himself as one of the top researchers applying molecular studies to evolutionary aspects of animal behavior. He has published several papers in top journals examining species-specific aspects of behavior in two species of burying beetles. His dissertation produced a major paper published in Evolution, the leading journal in his field, in which he examines variation in transcription among the most divergent individuals in a population. He developed strong bioinformatics skills and pioneered the use of unusual and sophisticated methods that allowed him to look for subtle transcription variation. His novel approach and paper have been highlighted by Evolution’s “Digest” section. Although his Ph.D. was performed in the laboratory, he was willing and able to visit field stations to collect beetles and has proved a talented observer of behavior. He is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Arizona.