Irene Liao


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    Duke University

  • Employment Status
    University / College Graduate Student

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    Plants come in many shapes and forms, such as differences in the flower color, leaf shape, and branching pattern. I am particularly interested in understanding how nectar has evolved, especially how it is reduced in specific types of flowers. Is this because the flower is smaller, so there will not be as much nectar produced? Or are there other factors that determine how much nectar is produced?

  • Profile Question 1
    What is your favorite plant? Why?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    This is actually a really tough question because I love so many plants. However, the one that really resonates with me is the champaca (or at least I think that is what it is). The scientific name is Magnolia x alba or Magnolia champaca, and I've also forgotten the Chinese name (need to ask my mom). Nevertheless, this is a really popular flower in Asia because of its fragrance (which is really lovely) and because it is used in temples. This flower reminds me of my grandmother, and because of that, this flower/plant is very special for personal and sentimental reasons.

  • Profile Question 2
    (not set)

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    (not set)

  • Profile Question 3
    (not set)

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    (not set)

  • Help represent the outreach efforts of your societies. Please click all those organizations you are a member of:
    Botanical Society of America
    Society for the Study of Evolution
    Genetics Society of America, American Society of Naturalists, Pan-American Society for Evolutionary Developmental Biology

  • Availability
    I am NOT available, please temporarily remove me from the available mentor list

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

Recent Posts

leaf Irene Liao

That's wonderful that you have completed the experiments! Have you started to analyze your data and graphing the data out? Any interesting trends? Did the results support your hypotheses?

Either way, it was really fun to work with you all as…

BotanyLovers14 Irene Liao

Hi all, it sounds like spring break was great!

It seems like it's a lot warmer in Georgia, and I hope some plants begin to flower! But even if not, I hope that the leaves were still interesting to look at. There is a lot of diversity there,…

BotanyLovers14 Irene Liao
commented on a blog post

I'm really sorry that your plants died! Do you have any ideas why this happened? 

Honestly, I think it's okay - part of the process of learning to keep plants requires killing a few of them! I've killed quite a few plants - some…


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