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Rachel Jabaily


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    Colorado College

  • Role
    Scientist Mentor: I will mentor teams of students online

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I study the evolutionary history of the pineapple family of plants (also known as the Bromeliaceae, 3500+ species found in tropical South, Central, and North America). I work with undergraduate researchers and colleagues around the world on bromeliad greenhouse experiments and analysis of DNA sequences.

  • Profile Question 1
    What is the coolest thing you have discovered or learned about plants?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    In graduate school I was fortunate to get to do fieldwork collecting bromeliad plants across the Andes mountains of South America, visiting 7 countries all paid for by a National Science Foundation student fellowship. I analyzed the DNA of 75+ species I collected and was very surprised to learn that the species from Chile that live near the beach had a central role to explain in the evolutionary history of the bromeliad family. I think I'm the first person to have shown that and it was so exciting! The fieldwork in Chile was also the easiest, driving right along the coast, stopping at beaches to see big, beautiful plants. I like to think and write about how the plants evolved out of low elevation Chile and into the young Andean mountains, riding the mountains like a surf wave as the mountains grew bigger, moving north towards the equator.

  • Profile Question 2
    What is your favorite plant? Why?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    I study plants that live very far away from my home and I love them all and I'm grateful whenever I get to spend time with them. That said, I'd say that my favorite plant grows right near my home here in central Colorado. The gooseberry bush (Ribes cereum) lives around the oaks and pines here in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and is one of the first plants to leaf out in the spring. The leaves are bright green and have the most amazing smell when crushed. It smells of home to me. The little white trumpet-shaped flowers are welcome sources of nectar for hummingbirds when they return after migration and the peachy berries it makes are beloved by bears. I visit my favorite bush with my dog whenever I can!

  • Profile Question 3
    When and why did you decide to go into a science career?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    I was good at science in high school, etc., but only encouraged to pursue medicine or engineering because those were the only jobs anyone had heard of. I learned that I cannot tolerate the sight of blood, so anything medical was out! I worked landscaping jobs in high school and loved gardening, so I thought that maybe I'd like to run a greenhouse some day. I went to college and chose 'Botany' as a major, not knowing what that really meant, and soon discovered it was my ticket to exploring the world! I got to go on a course the Brazilian rainforest as an undergraduate and I became obsessed with tropical botany and all that is unknown about the vast majority of plants. I found a welcoming, supportive botanical community of students and educators who encouraged me to follow my dreams. In graduate school I learned that I love to teach and to do research with students. I was then well prepared for my dream job, professor at an undergraduate-serving college.

  • In addition to English, I am comfortable communicating with students in the following languages:
    None of the Above

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?

Recent Posts

chocolate chip cookies project 9 Rachel Jabaily

Hooray! It looks great I always love pops of color in posters! My students and I present posters like this at scientific conferences, like the upcoming Botany conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan in June. 

chocolate chip cookies project 9 Rachel Jabaily

Really thorough, accurate, interesting thoughts Alexa! You all have done a fabulous job Keep up the love of science and curiosity about the natural world! And especially about plants- being a botanist is awesome :)

Cucumber project 8 Rachel Jabaily

I love all of your data and graphs! I agree with your general conclusions, especially that the leaf and stem color amounts were generally similar ratios between the two treatments.  The distribution of your plant heights looks very‚Ķ


Skills & Endorsements

  • No skills have been endorsed yet.


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NSF_Logo.jpg This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant #2010556 and #1502892. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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