PBIO PhD Student Heaphy Receives National Science Foundation Fellowship

A small. low growing plant with white flowers called Lomelosia prolifera
Lomelosia prolifera, one of many species in the Lomelosia genus.

Nora Heaphy is smiling while holding a flower from a vine in a greenhouse.Nora Heaphy, Department of Plant Biology PhD student, was awarded a National Science Foundation fellowship from the UVM Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) in 2023, for her proposal on dispersal, migration, and climate change risk in the Mediterranean plant Lomelosia. She is interested in why plants live where they live, if and how they will adapt to climate change, and how genetic factors interact with environmental factors to shape evolutionary trajectories.

Heaphy is a first year PhD student in the Department of Plant Biology, and a researcher with Associate Professor Steve Keller’s Lab. She graduated from Yale University in 2021 with a degree in ecology and evolutionary biology, then worked as a research assistant in the Edwards Lab at Yale. Before coming to UVM, she was a fellow in the Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) at the American University in Cairo, Egypt.

Nora Heaphy is leaning over and looking closely at a patch of plants in an area with a dry, Mediterranean climate.
Nora Heaphy

At Yale, she worked on two projects, one exploring the evolution of an unusual type of photosynthesis that may have allowed the plant genus Portulaca to expand into new environments, and the other investigating whether environmental factors drove the Latin American lineage of Viburnum to repeatedly and independently evolve three particular leaf shapes.

Heaphy is excited to see how her research directions will develop in the future at UVM.

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