Asawari Albal

Profile

  • Time Zone
    Eastern

  • Organization
    University of Toronto Mississauga

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

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    Currently, in my doctoral thesis i am working on studying plant evolution in a group of parasitic plants, Cuscuta (dodders). This is a very diverse group in terms of its photosynthetic abilities and morphology and forms a very interesting study system. It has 4 subgroups out of which one has not been characterized yet, each with their unique features and level of parasitism. The uncharacterized subgenus Monogynella has the combined diversity of the other three subgenera, making it a very cool system to study. The aim of my thesis is to characterize this subgenus based on molecular, morphological, and genomic data and establish a phylogenetic tree of evolution for the same. Previously I have worked in ecology studying plant sexual systems specifically andromonoecy in the genus Murdannia based on resource allocation and pollinator preferences.

  • Profile Question 1
    Do you have advice for students about preparing for a science career?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    In my opinion, curiosity is the biggest driver for a career in science. Your thirst for knowledge or uncovering a scientific study is what would be your motivation throughout your career which is the best. If you're really interested in science, go for it, the world needs scientists who are passionate about their work. It will not be easy but it might just be worth it!

  • Profile Question 2
    What is best about being a scientist?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    You are constantly learning new things from an amazing scientific community network but at the same time you are also the person who has the most knowledge about their own study- at any point of time, there is no other person who knows more about your study than you and it feels amazing!

  • Profile Question 3
    What is the coolest thing you have discovered or learned about plants?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    In my first year of undergraduate studies, I stumbled upon the topic of mimicry and camouflage, where I learnt about plants that have flowers which mimic female bees to ensure that they get pollinated and this blew my mind! Plant behavior is such an underrated topic but it is just so rewarding when you understand the mechanism/reason behind why a plant behaves a certain way (without having a brain of its own per se!), which is one of my favorite things about working with plants!

  • Availability
    I am currently available for mentoring, please send me team match invitations

  • Capacity: How many teams at a time are you comfortable working with?
    2

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