Scotty DePriest – Department of Biological Sciences

  • February 20th, 2014

Scotty DePriest is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Biological Sciences. As an undergraduate at The University of Alabama, Scotty joined the lab of Dr. Juan Lopez-Bautista as an undergraduate researcher, where he learned how to obtain, compare, and analyze DNA sequences. While on a field trip to the Alabama Gulf Coast for a biology of algae class, he collected a large, unusual red seaweed that had never been noticed in the Gulf of Mexico. By sequencing this alga’s DNA, Scotty identified this alga as Grateloupia taiwanensis, a species that had only just been described and was only known in Taiwan. This finding indicated that G. taiwanensis must have been recently introduced to the Gulf of Mexico. After this discovery, Scotty decided to continue studying this extraordinary alga, which became the subject of his Ph.D. dissertation. He has made collection trips throughout the Gulf Coast, from the southern tip of Texas to the Florida Keys, and he has presented his research at several national and international conferences. Scotty has sequenced this algal genome in entirety and has published the organization of its chloroplast genome; he is working now on the next phylogenomic research, the mitochondrial genome. In 2013, Scotty was awarded the E.O. Wilson Fellowship, given to three graduate students in the Department of Biological Sciences for biodiversity research. In addition to his research projects, Scotty currently teaches introductory biology laboratory class at UA. His goal for the future is to continue his research on algae and to inspire new students to pursue careers in biology.

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