Biology Department Received $1 million Grant for Research



Marty Condon, Professor of Biology at Cornell College, has recently been awarded a $1 million grant that will support her research on the topic related to generation and maintenance of biodiversity.  Professor Condon has been teaching classes in biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology at Cornell since 1996.

When she was eight years old, she read a book called “The Wonders of Life on Earth”. After that, she became amazingly interested in the topic of evolution and biological diversity. She says, “Evolution explains life. I cannot imagine anything more interesting or more exciting.”

In 2014, Professor Condon and her colleagues published a work related to the natural selection process. They talked about fruit flies and parasitic wasps laying their eggs inside the fruit flies. Prof. Condon investigated the probability of the survival of wasp offspring in the fruit flies. The topic of her investigation directly related to diversification of the natural world.

The National Science Foundation’s Division of Environmental Biology (an independent federal agency that funds scientific research at American colleges and universities) awarded Professor Condon a 5-year grant as part of their “Dimensions of Biodiversity” program, so she would be able to deeply explore the origin, maintenance, and loss of biodiversity. Professor Condon is excited about this opportunity, saying that biodiversity is truly amazing and full of many unexpected surprises.
Faculty members and scientists from the University of Georgia, the University of Iowa, North Carolina State University, the College of Our Lady of the Elms, Systematic Entomology Laboratory of the US Department in Beltsville, Maryland, as well as many Cornell College students will collaborate with Professor Condon in the research program. Moreover, more than one fifth of the NSF grant ($209,073) represents “indirect funds” awarded to the Cornell College administration, which can use the funds for almost any purpose.  Also, the research grant will fund a post-doctoral research position and a field-coordinator position at Cornell.  Isaac Winkler will be a post-doctoral researcher, while Andrew Rasmussen (who is a Cornell College alumnus) will fill the position of a field-coordinator.


Staff Writer–  Polina Durneva