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MSU’s Boughman Gets Fulbright for Iceland Studies


Janette Boughman, a Michigan State University integrative biologist, has been named a 2017-18 Fulbright Scholar in recognition of her research in Iceland on the adaptation of stickleback fish to the rapid human-induced environmental changes in the arctic.

Boughman, whose project will run from January to August 2018, will be affiliated with Hólar University College and the University of Iceland in Reykjavik.

Boughman considers Iceland to be an evolutionary powerhouse. She and her collaborators plan to reconstruct the colonization history of sticklebacks in Iceland to determine rates of evolution, which can help determine how quickly adaptation has occurred in stickleback sensory systems.

“This Fulbright award will allow me to conduct leading-edge research and better integrate into the scientific and cultural communities of Iceland,” explained Boughman, an associate professor in the MSU Department of Integrative Biology in the College of Natural Science. “I expect to develop collaborations with other Icelandic scientists, and give invited talks on my research to several universities and museums.

“As people think about global climate change, they realize that some species may not adapt fast enough to keep up,” Boughman added. “This project gives us a way to understand that process.”

Boughman also recently received a National Science Foundation Dimensions of Biodiversity grant to pursue research studying the evolution of threespine stickleback throughout Iceland.  She and her team will use the data collected to understand whether the way that genes are organized in the genome helps or hinders the process of adaptation.

The highly coveted Fulbright grants are issued by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to foster international academic exchange.

The Fulbright, named after J. William Fulbright—a prominent and gifted American statesman of the 20th century—is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed with the opportunity to increase mutual understanding between the United States and other countries.

Michigan State University is among the top producing research institutions of Fulbright Scholars in the United States.

  • via the College of Natural Science website

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