2023 Molecular Ecology Prize goes to Uma Ramakrishnan, for bringing molecular genetics to conservation practice, policy, and the public

A Bengal tiger, Panthera tigris, in southwestern India. (Flickr: gskep-photo)

The Molecular Ecology Prize Committee has announced the 2023 recipient of the award, which recognizes an outstanding scientist who has made significant contributions to the still-young field of molecular ecology:

This year’s Molecular Ecology Prize is awarded to Dr. Uma Ramakrishnan, a Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India.   Dr. Ramakrishnan is best known for her studies on the tiger and other large mammals, which are the “poster children” for India’s natural resources. Her studies have included census estimates from combined camera trap and genetic surveys, historical inferences from genetic data and museum specimens, and demonstrations of gene flow impacting genomic variation and inbreeding depression.   Dr. Ramakrishnan’s research has led to valuable conservation applications, for example by providing evidence used in a Supreme Court ruling that wildlife corridors must be included in certain highway expansions.  Dr. Ramakrishnan’s work on science communication and community service is exemplary, and she is an important role model to scientists around the world.

Dr. Ramakrishnan joins the previous winners of the Molecular Ecology Prize: Godfrey Hewitt, John Avise, Pierre Taberlet, Harry Smith, Terry Burke, Josephine Pemberton, Deborah Charlesworth, Craig Moritz, Laurent Excoffier, Johanna Schmitt, Fred Allendorf, Louis Bernatchez, Nancy Moran, Robin Waples, Scott Edwards, Victoria Sork, Fuwen Wei, and Kerstin Johannessen.

About Jeremy Yoder

Jeremy B. Yoder is an Associate Professor of Biology at California State University Northridge, studying the evolution and coevolution of interacting species, especially mutualists. He is a collaborator with the Joshua Tree Genome Project and the Queer in STEM study of LGBTQ experiences in scientific careers. He has written for the website of Scientific American, the LA Review of Books, the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Awl, and Slate.
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