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Catherine Chen

Department of Biology CB #3280, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599
catherine.chen@unc.edu

Education
2016 – Present University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Department of Biology
Ph.D Advisor: Dr. Karin Pfennig
2012 – 2016 Duke University, summa cum laude
B.S. Biology with Honors, advised by Dr. Sönke Johnsen & Eleanor Caves
B.S. Evolutionary Anthropology

Fellowships and awards
2016 – 2017 Doctoral Merit Assistantship, University of North Carolina, CH; $20000
2015 Phi Beta Kappa, Duke University
2012 – 2016 Dean’s List, Duke University
Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Fall 2015
Dean’s List with Distinction, Duke University
Fall 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2016
2012 National Merit Scholarship; $2500

Grants
2017 Rosemary Grant Award for Graduate Student Research, Society for the Study of
Evolution; $1550
2017 Grants in Aid of Research, Sigma Xi; $1000
2017 McCarley Research Award, Southwestern Association of Naturalists; $1000
2015 Deans’ Summer Research Fellowship, Duke University; $2185

Publications
Chen C, Caves E, Johnsen S. In preparation. Advertisement of cleaner shrimp in the genus Lysmata.
Target journal: Animal Behaviour.
Chen C, Morton JP, Silliman BR. Submitted. Predation likely constrains evolution of high-level
cultivation in a fungal-farming snail. The American Naturalist.
Schrack EC, Keller D, Morton JP, Zhang YS, Chen C, Martinez C, Wiernicki C, Silliman BR.
Submitted. Vegetation cover and macroinvertebrate community assemblages in native and
non-native Caribbean seagrass beds. Aquatic Botany.
McClain CR, Balk MA, Benfield MC, Branch TA, Chen C, Cosgrove J, Dove ADM, Helm RR,
Hochberg FGE, Gaskins LC, Lee FB, Marshall A, McMurray SE, Schanche C, Stone SN,
Thaler AD. 2015. Sizing ocean giants. Peer J. doi:10.7717/peerj.715
Covered by 65+ media outlets in 7 languages, including Scientific American, National
Geographic, The Washington Post, MSN, and Newsweek. Named among Altmetric’s “Top
100 Articles of 2015.”

Presentations
2016 Advertisement of cleaner shrimp in the genus Lysmata. Poster presentation,

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Duke University Biology Honors Theses Symposium.
2015 Fungal farming by snails. Presentation to Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER
Schoolyard program of 50+ elementary and middle school science teachers.
2015 The evolution of fungal farming of snails. Seminar presentation to the University
of Georgia Marine Institute seminar.
2014 The role of stereotyped display behavior in speciation in the lizard Anolis
distichus. Seminar talk and poster presentation to the University of Kansas REU
programs.

Professional and research experience
2015 – 2016 Research Intern, Dr. Brian Silliman, Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER and
Duke University Marine Lab, Sapelo Island, GA
Experimental fieldwork to study trade-offs of snail farming behavior.
2014 – 2016 Research Assistant, Dr. Sönke Johnsen and Eleanor Caves, Duke University,
Durham, NC
Examined role of cleaner shrimp motion signals in attracting client fish.
2012 – 2016 Animal Behavior Intern, Duke Lemur Center, Durham, NC
Observed behavior of lemurs, with the goal of providing improved enrichment.
2014 NSF REU, Dr. Richard Glor, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
Studied role of signaling behavior in evolution of subspecies of anole lizards.
2013 Research Assistant, Dr. Craig McClain, Duke University, Durham, NC
Examined evolution of body size of marine megafauna.
2013 Education and Environmental Outreach Intern, ProWorld Thailand, Chiang
Mai, Thailand
Planted 4000+ trees for rainforest restoration, created grant database, taught
English to 20+ adults.
2012 – 2013 Research Assistant, Dr. Manuel Leal; Duke University, Durham NC
Tested visual acuity of anole lizards.

Teaching
2017 Teaching Assistant, Biology 252L: Anatomy and Physiology
2017 Teaching Assistant, Biology 202: Genetics and Molecular Biology

Mentorship
Undergraduates mentored: Lauren Umberger (REU student), Lauren Wiltsek, Connor Barringer
(Biology 395: Undergraduate Research in Biology)

Outreach
2017 Science Expo through the North Carolina Science Festival
Taught attendees about desert toads and their adaptations, hybridization, and
behavior.

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2017 Skype a Scientist
Talked with a class of 20+ Puerto Rican high school students about biological
research and career options for scientists.

2017 DNA Day Ambassador
Taught 150 NC high school students about DNA and forensics.

2017 Darwin Day at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Created and led children through activities designed to increase their
understanding of evolution. 5000+ visitors participated in Darwin Day.

2015 Georgia Coastal Ecosystems LTER Schoolyard program
Led 13 elementary and middle school teachers through fieldwork and discussing
how to integrate it into their curricula.
2014 Blogger at Deep Sea News and Story of Size
Wrote popular-science articles about the biological importance of body size.
DSN has an audience of 100,000+ unique visitors monthly.

University activities
2017 – Present Massive Science Consortium member
2016 – 2017 First year representative of the Biology Graduate Student Association
2017 ComSciCon Triangle attendee

2015 – 2016 President of Duke Roots & Shoots

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