Dr. Suman Neupane
Dr. Suman Neupane
<b>Department: </b>Biology<br><b>Research Area: </b>Plant Systematics, Modelling trait evolution, Phylogeny, Bioinformatics

Department: Biology

Research Focus: Plant Systematics, Modelling trait evolution, Phylogeny, Bioinformatics.


Potential Student Project(s):

In our lab, we construct evolutionary trees of living organisms, mainly plants, known as phylogenies. We utilize DNA and morphological trait data to build these phylogenies. By analyzing these phylogenies, we study how plants and their complex set of interacting traits have evolved through space and time (in million years).
Our ongoing projects in the lab include:
i) Estimating the phylogeny of the plant tribe Spermacoceae (~1000 speices) within the coffee family, using high-throughput DNA data.
ii) Addressing taxonomic challenges related to North American bluets (tribe Spermacoceae, family Rubiaceae).
iii) Modeling the evolution of traits related to plant habit, and speciation (the formation of new species) in tropical mountains. 


Attributes/skills/background sought in undergraduate:

We are looking for individuals with some knowledge or interest in plants, a curiosity for wet lab techniques such
as DNA extraction, and a keen interest in acquiring bioinformatics skills through learning.


Mentoring Plan:

The student researcher will work 5h/week by immersing themselves in wet lab techniques, gaining hands-on expertise in DNA isolation and library preparation for sequencing. As the semester progresses, the focus will shift to bioinformatics, encompassing genome assembly, alignment, and phylogenetics. The student will receive personalized guidance through weekly 1-on-1 interactions, ensuring a deep understanding of both the practical and analytical aspects of our research. If the student expresses interest in extending their involvement beyond the semester, they will be welcomed to contribute significantly, potentially co-authoring a paper on our ongoing lab research. The student researcher will work 5 h/week on the project including a 1-on-1 interaction with me for at least 1 hour/week.


Contact: 765-285-7368, FB 231