Deland Award Recipients

Deland Award Recipients

Established in 1992 through the generous bequest of F. Stanton Deland, Jr., Harvard ’36, the Deland Award for Student Research supports research by graduate and advanced undergraduate students investigating the comparative biology of woody plants.


Meghan Blumstein Meghan Blumstein is a PhD candidate in the Holbrook Lab at Harvard University. Meghan will quantify genetic variation within a population of Quercus rubrum (red oak) and compare this to the variation found across the entire range using Arboretum trees collected from different locations in the wild. Quantifying genetic variation will improve modeling used to predict the ability of plant species to adapt in the face of climate change.
Erin Pierce A first-year PhD student working in the Templer Lab at Boston University, Erin Pierce will measure ozone levels and tree growth at the Arboretum. Combined with the data from the Arboretum’s National Atmospheric Deposition Program monitoring station, Erin will evaluate the role of air pollution on urban ecosystem health.
Harold Suarez-Baron Harold Suarez Baron is a PhD Candidate at the University of Antioquia in Columbia in the Pabon-Mora Lab.  In Aristolochia (dutchman’s pipe), the trichomes (hairs) found on flowers are important for attracting and retaining flies for pollination. Harold focuses on the genetic mechanisms underlying trichome development in this non-model plant.


Jon Mahoney As part of the Aronia breeding program, Jonathan Mahoney, a Master’s student at the University of Connecticut, is investigating the mating systems and compatibility issues of intergeneric hybridization between Aronia and related taxa.
Alex Susko A PhD candidate from the University of Minnesota, the research of Alexander Susko focuses on abiotic stress tolerance in Rhododendron. At the Arboretum, Alexander will collect and sequence deciduous azaleas originally collected across the geographic and environmental range to identify genetic targets of selection associated with differing environmental responses.


Steve Decina A PhD candidate working with Drs. Lucy Hutyra and Pamela Templer at Boston University, Steve Decina aims to understand how urbanization affects biogeochemical cycles. By comparing collection sites in urban areas, including the Arboretum, he will quantify nitrogen deposition in multiple urban sites.


lauragarrison-sq Laura Garrison is a graduate student in the Edwards Lab at Brown University. Focusing on the Arboretum’s Viburnum collection, she is examining the relationship between diversity in morphological characters and the response to climate change.
KristelPicture Kristel Schoonderwoerd is a graduate student in the Erasmus Mundus Master Program in Evolutionary Biology. At the Arboretum, she is studying reproductive traits, including female gametophye development and seed development, of Franklinia alatamaha and Stewartia ovata.


PhotoforDelandsq Kathryn Weglarz is a graduate student in the von Dohlen Lab at Utah State University. While much focus has been placed on understanding plant-insect interactions, her goal is to delve specifically into the interaction between the host plant and the bacterial symbionts present in the saliva of the insects.


Laura Lagomarsino Laura Lagomarsino is a PhD student in the Davis Lab in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard. She is studying the evolution of secondary woodiness in the Lobelioideae, a primarily temperate herbaceous group of plants. The Deland Award will enable Laura to travel to Peru to collect plant specimens for the Herbarium and for her studies of wood anatomy.


Juan Losada Juan Losada is a PhD candidate with Professor Maria Herrero in the Pomology Department of the Aula Dei Experimental Station–CSIC, Spain. His graduate work has focused on the reproductive biology of apples (Malus spp.). Juan spent the summer working at the Weld Hill Research Building to expand his studies to include species in the Arboretum’s Magnolia and Stewartia collections.
Mariana Oliveira e Castro Mariana Oliveira e Castro is working on her master’s thesis in the Department of Life Sciences at the University of Coimbra in Portugal under the supervision of João Carlos Mano Castro Loureiro. In collaboration with John and Sally Perkins of the American Rhododendron Society, Mariana will determine the ploidy level (number of chromosome pairs) of 50 specimens of Rhododendron calendulaceum held in the Arboretum’s living collection.
Lucy Hutyra A PhD candidate working with Dr. Lucy Hutyra at Boston University, Preeti Rao aims to understand how urbanization affects ecosystems. By comparing two plots in the Arboretum’s Bussey Brook Meadow with plots at the Harvard Forest and other areas in between, she hopes to quantify the effects of urbanization on nitrogen and carbon dynamics. Her project is a collaboration with Adrien Finzi of Boston University and Arboretum Senior Research Scientist Peter Del Tredici.
Emily Scherbatskoy Emily Scherbatskoy earned her bachelor’s degree in botany from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She worked in the Friedman Lab with Julien Bachelier. In an effort to shed light on the evolution of female gametophyte development, her research focused on the comparative morphology of female gametophytes in diverse conifers.