• Dr. Brian Fisher points at a computer as Academy entomologists look on
    Every year, senior Academy scientists collaborate with an international cohort of Lakeside Fellows. Pictured: Curator of Entomology Brian Fisher, PhD, meets with entomology staff.
  • Ichthyology collections manager Dave Catania with shelves of specimen jars at the Academy
    Fellows leverage the Academy’s collections and facilities to conduct research and receive specialized training. Pictured: Senior Collections Manager of Ichthyology Dave Catania with specimens.
  • Dr. Shannon Bennett opens a cryogenic freezer in her lab at the Academy
    Over 50 Lakeside Fellows have visited since 2012, building valuable partnerships with Academy scientists. Pictured: Chief of Science Shannon Bennett, PhD, retrieving microbiology specimens.

Through the generous support of the Lakeside Foundation, the Lakeside Fund for visiting scholars provides financial support for scholars from developing countries to collaborate with Academy scientists.

Visitors may be of any educational or academic rank, ranging from early-career scientists to senior scientists. Awards provide funding for all aspects of a research visit (up to 12 months in duration) including visa applications, travel, lodging, per diem, up to $3,000 for research expenses, and the opportunity to work with an Academy principal investigator (PI).

Over the last 10 years, the Lakeside Fund has supported more than 50 visiting scientists from over a dozen low and middle income countries and regions (as defined by the UN, IMF and World Bank) including Angola, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Gabon, Honduras, India, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mexico, Panama, the Philippines, and South Africa.

Learn about the Academy’s current and past Lakeside Fellows below. 


2023 Fellows

Photo of Nicole Rasoamanana and Nomena Fabienne Rasoarimalala, Lakeside Fellows at the Academy

Nicole Rasoamanana, Nomena Fabienne Rasoarimalala (Madagascar)
Institution: Madagascar Biodiversity Center, Antananarivo, Madagascar
Academy PI: Brian Fisher, Entomology
Career stage: Graduate students

Nicole and Nomena are currently at the Academy to conduct an in-depth study on ant taxonomy, specifically focusing on four Malagasy genera: Camponotus, Hypoponera, Nylanderia, and Plagiolepis. Their expertise in ants within the Madagascar region contributes significantly to the development of more impactful conservation strategies and the promotion of awareness regarding the crucial ecological roles these insects play.

Portraits of Andrea Godoy Mendoza and Carolina Rojas Barahona, Lakeside Fellows at the Academy

Andrea Godoy Mendoza, Carolina Rojas Barahona (Honduras)
Institution: Roatán Marine Park, Honduras
Academy PI: Rebecca Albright and Elora López-Nandam, Invertebrate Zoology
Career stage: Program manager (Godoy) and research coordinator (Rojas)

Andrea and Carolina are visiting the Academy to assist with our annual coral spawn and experiments. They will learn experimental design and methodology in an effort to improve coral growth and survival rates early in development, and they will learn coral husbandry and aquarium maintenance. This will support Roatán Marine Park's growing research and coral sexual reproduction programs.


2022 Fellows

Portrait of Lakeside Fellows Abraham Bamba-Kaya and Oscar Ramon Fokou

Abraham Bamba-Kaya (Gabon), Oscar Ramon Fokou (Cameroon)
Institution: University of Yaoundé, Cameroon
Academy PI: Rayna Bell, Herpetology
Career stage: PhD students

Abraham and Oscar are visiting the Academy to examine our extensive collection of amphibians from Cameroon and to learn DNA barcoding techniques in the Center for Comparative Genomics (CCG) to support their dissertation research projects.

Photo of Yesenia Marquez-López at CAS

Yesenia Marquez-López (Mexico). Institution: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Ciudad de México. Academy PI: Chris Grinter, Entomology. Career stage: Ph.D. student

Yesenia visited the Entomology Department to examine Nearctic and Neotropical species of the family Myrmeleontidae. During her stay, she received training on imaging, dissection, and worked on the taxonomy and morphology of the subfamily Ascalaphinae towards completion of her dissertation.

Pinned Malagasy ants from the Academy research collections

Nomena Rasoarimalala, Nicole Rasoamanana, Manoa Ramamonjisoa, Malala Andrianantenaina (Madagascar)
Institution: Madagascar Biodiversity Center, University of Antananarivo
Academy PI: Brian Fisher, Entomology
Career stage: MSc students

This group of visiting students received taxonomic training in ant systematics, including dissection, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), Leica imaging, and morphometrics.

Headshot of Lakeside Fellow Omar Torres Carvajal

Omar Torres Carvajal (Ecuador)
Institution: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador
Academy PI: Rayna Bell, Herpetology
Career stage: Professor

Dr. Torres Carvajal is currently revising the taxonomy of Galápagos geckos (Phyllodactylus) and lava lizards (Microlophus). During his visit to the Academy he examined key specimens to include in morphological analyses and is collaborating with Dr. Bell and postdoctoral researcher Dr. Eddie Myers on population genomic analyses of Galápagos leaf-toed geckos.


2021 Fellows

Portrait of Lakeside Scholar David Anchundia

David Anchundia (Ecuador)
Institution: Charles Darwin Foundation, Galápagos Islands
Academy PI: Jack DumbacherOrnithology
Career stage: PhD student

Anchundia is currently a PhD student at the University of Vienna researching the conservation genetics of the Galápagos Vermilion Flycatchers (Pyrocephalus dubious and P. nanus). During his fellowship, Dumbacher and Anchundia sequenced the full genome of a Galápagos Vermilion Flycatchers to identify genetic variation that may help inform future conservation efforts for this species.

Portrait of Lakeside Fellow Siddharth Kulkarni

Siddharth Kulkarni (India)
Institution: University of Wisconsin, Madison
Academy PI: Lauren EspositoEntomology
Career stage: Postdoctoral researcher

During his second Lakeside fellowship (his first was in 2019), Kulkarni leveraged the Academy’s extensive frozen spider tissue collection and the advanced computing power of the CCG to investigate whether the biological complexity of spiders was triggered by genome duplication.


2020 Fellows

Headshot of Lakeside Fellow Gabriel Araujo

Gabriel Araujo (Brazil)
Institution: Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Academy PI: Luiz Rocha, Ichthyology
Career stage: PhD Student

Gabriel came to the Academy to study genetic connectivity of cryptobenthic reef fish in the Atlantic Ocean and the timing of speciation in Brazilian endemic fishes. He obtained tissue sample loans from several US collections and sequenced dozens of our own samples to produce two manuscripts, one of which was just published in the Journal of Biogeography.

Portrait of Lakeside Scholar Ann Cabras

Analyn Anzano Cabras (Philippines)
Institution: Coleoptera Research Center
Academy PIs: Athena LamCenter for Comparative Genomics (CCG); Matt Van Dam, Entomology
Career stage: Researcher

Cabras is Director of the Coleoptera Research Center, co-founder of the Philippine Coleopterological Network, and a National Geographic Explorer. At the Academy, she worked with CCG researchers to learn next-generation sequencing methods that will help enhance her endemic beetle and weevil conservation work in the Philippines.

Sapper wasp on a plant

Bhrenno Trad (Brazil)
Institution: Universidade Federal da Grande Dourados
Academy PI: Wojciech Pulawski, Entomology
Career stage: Postdoctoral researcher

Ammophila is a wasp genus of more than 240 species, distributed on all continents, for which modern revisions by Dollfuss (2013, Palearctic species; Dollfuss, 2015, sub-Saharan Africa), and Menke (2020, North America) are available. Dr. Trad worked on a similar modern revision for South America. During his stay at the Academy, he carefully examined our South American material, and borrowed material from several North and South American museums. His work is still in progress.


2019 Fellows

Pinned cool weather mosquito specimens against a black background

Nur Faeza Abu Kassim (Malaysia)
Institution: Mosquito Control Research Group, School of Biological Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia Academy
PI: Shannon Bennett, Microbiology
Career stage: Associate Professor

Dr. Nur’s research includes Mosquito Taxonomy and Microbial Discovery surveillance in Malaysia to explore the role of biodiversity in disease emergence. During her visit, Dr. Nur trained with Dr. Bennett and her Arbovirology lab on high-throughput mosquito collection and molecular methods for mosquito species identification and microbiome characterization including virus discovery. Major findings include new mosquito records for the region representing vector range expansion, and the confirmation of a virus-rich microbiome in mosquitoes living with people that advances our understanding of the potential for emerging infectious viruses in urban landscapes.

Headshot of Lakeside Fellow Viktor Khvir

Viktor Khvir (Belarus)
Institution: Zoology Department, Belarussian State University
Academy PI: Wojciech Pulawski, Entomology
Career stage: Associate professor

Dr. Viktor Khvir studies the ecology of pollinators of weeds and agricultural plants. During his visit to the Academy he examined key specimens to include in a review of Lyroda wasps. This research was published in the Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences in 2020.

Headshot for Lakeside Fellow Nicolas Moity

Nicolás Moity (Ecuador)
Institution: Charles Darwin Foundation (CDF), Galápagos Islands
Academy PI: Durrell Kapan, IBSS Science
Career stage: Marine and Geographical Information Systems scientist

During his visit to the Academy, Nicolás joined Academy scientists Durrell Kapan and Chris Grinter to investigate digitized collection data and not-yet-databased or digitized lot level insect collections to identify critical knowledge gaps in endemic versus invasive Galápagos flora and fauna. Nicolás also joined other CDF and Academy staff at a joint NightLife public outreach event focused on Galápagos biodiversity.


Ricardo Pacifico (Brazil)
Institution: State University of Maringá, Paraná, Brazil
Academy PI: Frank AlmedaBotany
Career stage: Postdoctoral researcher

Pacifico, who received his PhD in 2021, explored the phylogenetic relationships between the nearly 300 species of Microlicieae, a clade of flowers largely restricted to Brazil. His innovative use of RADsequencing markers promises to help resolve some persistent taxonomic and evolutionary questions about Microlicieae.


Jean Claude Rakotonirina (Madagascar)
Institution: Madagascar Biodiversity Center
Academy PI: Brian FisherEntomology
Career stage: Researcher

Rakotonirina, a researcher at the Madagascar Biodiversity Center, pursued training on ant systematics at the Academy to help refine the species boundaries for genus Camponotus and define its subgenera in the Malagasy region. A paper on the taxonomy of Camponotus, subgenus Myrmosaga, was published in ZooKeys: “Revision of the Malagasy Camponotus subgenus Myrmosaga (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) using qualitative and quantitative morphology.”


Nicole Rasoamanana (Madagascar)
Institution: Madagascar Biodiversity Center
Academy PI: Brian FisherEntomology
Career stage: Student

After her Academy fellowship, Rasoamanana, a student at the University of Antananarivo and employee of the Madagascar Biodiversity Center, co-authored a paper with Fisher, recently published by ZooKeys: “A taxonomic revision of the Malagasy endemic subgenus Mayria of the genus Camponotus (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) based on qualitative morphology and quantitative morphometric analyses.”

Portrait of Lakeside Fellow Lu Tian

Lu Tian (China)
Academy PI: Lauren Esposito, Entomology

Revisions of the third largest spider genus Pardosa: species and generic delimitation.

Portrait of Dr. Juliana Vianna in the field with penguins in the background

Juliana Vianna (Chile)
Institution: Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Academy PI: Brian Simison, CCG
Career stage: Associate professor

Dr. Vianna collaborates with Academy scientists studying the evolution of penguins and other vertebrates using modern genomic and computational methods. Her research on penguin diversification was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2020.

2018 Fellows

Natalia Roos (Brazil)
Institution: Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte Academy
PI: Luiz Rocha, Ichthyology
Project description: Natalia used molecular data to inform the conservation of the endangered and endemic green beak parrotfish Scarus trispinosus along the Brazilian coast.

Joseph Commendador (Philippines)
Institution: National Museum of the Philippines
Academy PI: Terry Gosliner and Rich Mooi, Invertebrate Zoology & Geology
Project description: Joseph completed a master’s thesis at San Francisco State University: "A barrel of sponges – a Xestospongia testudinaria species complex in the Verde Island Passage, Philippines."

Jian Liu (China)
Institution: CAS Kunming Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Academy PI: Nathalie Nagalingum, Botany
Project description: Phylogenetics and conservation genetics of cycads in mainland Southeast Asia. This work was published in Ecography (2021).

Omar Valencia Mendez (Mexico)
Institution: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana Ciudad de México
Academy PI: Luiz Rocha, Ichthyology
Project description: Mendez's research focused on a review of the type specimens in the Academy's fish collection. The main goal is to conduct a detailed taxonomic review of 31 lots (23 species) of the following genera: Aboma, Awaous, Bollmannia, Ctenogobius, Evermannia, Gillichthys, Ilypnus, Lythrypnus, Microgobius, Pycnoma, Quietula, and Tigrigobius. Collection data, morphometric and meristic data, and images will be acquired from approximately 125 primary and secondary type specimens.

2017 Fellows

Jean Claude Rakotonirina (Madagascar)
Institution: Madagascar Biodiversity Center
Academy PI: Brian Fisher, Entomology
Project description: Taxonomic study of Camponotus from the Malagasy Region, published in Zootaxa in 2018.

Nicole Rasoamanana (Madagascar)
Institution: Madagascar Biodiversity Center
Academy PI: Brian Fisher, Entomology
Project description: Taxonomic study of Camponotus from the Malagasy Region, published in ZooKeys in 2017.

2016 Fellows

Suzana Bandeira (Angola)
Institution: Universidade Agostinho Neto
Academy PI: Jens Vindum, Herpetology
Project description: Curatorial training and taxonomy of Angolan herpetofauna.

Maria Laura Delapieve (Brazil)
Institution: Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
Academy PI: Luiz Rocha, Ichthyology
Project description: Maria Laura studied the evolutionary history of Eurycheilichthys, a Neotropical genus of small freshwater loricariids fishes (Hypopropomatinae) endemic to two river basins in southern Brazil using ddRADseq.

Ivonne Garzon
Academy PI: Michelle Trautwein, Entomology

Wenzhang "Dennis" Ma (China)
Institution: Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Academy PI: Jim Shevock, Botany
Project description: During Dr. Ma’s visits to the Academy, he worked on the Academy's bryophyte collections from Yunnan Province, China, in association with a National Geographic Society grant. In the course of this research, he published several papers in collaboration with Jim Shevock including mosses new for China and species new to science.

Palatty Allesh Sinu (India)
Institution: Central University of Kerala
Academy PI: Meg Lowman, Entomology
Project description: Dr. Sinu collaborated with Dr. Lowman on community perceptions of conservation in rural and urban landscapes. This work was published in BioScience (2017) and Land Use Policy (2019).

Alemayahu Wassie (Ethiopia)
Institution: Bahir Dar University – Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara
Academy PI: Meg Lowman, Entomology & Botany
Project description: Professional development to learn collections protocols for plants and insects to be applied toward a forthcoming natural history museum in northern Ethiopia.

2015 Fellows

Victor Amoroso (Philippines)
Institution: Central Mindanao University
Academy PI: Peter Fritsch, Botany
Project description: Amoroso worked on the identification of ferns in the Academy’s collection from the southern Philippines.

Weldeyared Hailu (Ethiopia)
Institution: Aksum University
Academy PI: Zeray Alemseged, Anthropology
Project description: Weldeyared visited the Academy to complete some aspects of his master’s thesis: "Exploring ungulate abundance and hypsodonty index and its implication hominin environments."

Wenzhang "Dennis" Ma (China)
Institution: Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Academy PI: Jim Shevock, Botany
Project description: Professional development and identification of bryophyte specimens in the Academy's collection.

Dulce Piedra Morita (Mexico)

Catalina Romero (Colombia)

2014 Fellows

Moises Bernal (Panama)
Institution: University of Texas at Austin
Academy PI: Luiz Rocha, Ichthyology
Project description: At the Academy, Moises completed several aspects of his PhD research on genomic signatures of speciation processes in coral reef fishes.

Joao Aranha Filho (Brazil)
Institution: Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto
Academy PI: Frank Almeda and Peter Fritsch, Botany
Project description: Symplocos in the New World is mostly a genus of montane tropical rainforest trees, but several occur in the Cerrado biome in Brazil. Many species in the genus are rare and narrowly endemic with limited geographic and elevational distributions. João's work with Brazilian members of the genus brought a good bit of order to what had been a taxonomically complex taxonomic group.

Jef Mancera (Philippines)
Institution: University of the Philippines, Manila
Academy PI: Frank Almeda, Botany
Project description: Morphological Phylogenetic Analysis of Astronieae (Melastomataceae).

Jean Claude Rakotonirina (Madagascar)
Institution: Madagascar Biodiversity Center
Academy PI: Brian Fisher, Entomology
Project description: Training of Malagasy scientist: taxonomic tool kit and sustainability.

Nicole Rasoamanana (Madagascar)
Institution: Madagascar Biodiversity Center
Academy PI: Brian Fisher, Entomology
Project description: Training of Malagasy scientist: taxonomic tool kit and sustainability.

Tizezew Shimekachk Sisay (Ethiopia)
Institution: University of Maine
Academy PI: Meg Lowman, IBSS
Project description: Tizezew received training working with collections at the Academy.

Laura Zamorano (Colombia)
Institution: San Francisco State University
Academy PI: Dave KavanaughEntomology
Project description: Master thesis on Systematics of beetles of the tribe Lachnophorini (Insecta: Coleoptera: Carabidae).

2013 Fellows

Diana Gamba-Moreno (Colombia)
Institution: San Francisco State University
Academy PI: Frank Almeda, Botany
Project description: Extended partial support for Diana Gamba-Moreno's thesis on Systematics and Phlyogeny of the Octopleura clade of Miconia (Melastomataceae: Miconieae).

Marcel Talla Kouete (Cameroon)
Institution: San Francisco State University
Academy PI: David Blackburn, Herpetology, and Brian Simison, CCG
Project description: Masters thesis on the diet, reproductive biology, and population genetics of two caecilians from Cameroon. The first part of this research was published in Integrative Organismal Biology in 2020.

Angela B. Martins (Brazil)
Institution: University of Campinas
Academy PI: Frank Almeda, Botany
Project description: Systematics of the endemic Brazilian genus Lavoisiera (Melastomataceae)

Audrey Ndaba (South Africa)
Institution: Formerly Arachnid Collection Manager at KwaZulu-Natal Museum, currently Collections Management Coordinator, Natural Science Collections Facility (NSCF), Pretoria, South Africa
Academy PI: Charles Griswold, Entomology
Project description: Building arachnological cooperation in South Africa.

2012 Fellows

Léo Correia da Rocha Filho (Brazil)
Institution: University of São Paulo
Academy PI: Wojciech Pulawski, Entomology
Project description: A revision of the Neotropical species of the subgenus Trypargilum Richards, 1934 (Hymenoptera: Crabronidae).

Ivy Lambio (Philippines)
Institution: University of the Philippines, Los Banos
Academy PI: Peter Fritsch and Jim Shevock, Botany
Project description: Visit for professional development, identification of bryological specimens from the Philippines expedition, and developing floristic projects for future publication/collaboration.

Daniel Melnikov (Russia)
Institution: Russian Academy of Sciences
Academy PI: Jens Vindum, Herpetology
Project description: Taxonomy of the Middle Eastern Agaminae.

Veverly San Juan (Philippines)
Institution: University of the Philippines, Los Banos; currently a teacher in Los Banos, Philippines
Academy PI: Charles Griswold, Entomology
Project description: Research with the Academy millipede (Diplopoda) collection. Veverly described a new-to-science flat-backed millipede in the Academy’s Hearst Philippines Expedition volume.

Yi-Min Weng (Taiwan)
Institution: National Chung Hsing University
Academy PI: Dave Kavanaugh, Entomology
Project description: Genetic Variation and Phylogeography of Alpine Ground Beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera: Carabidae).

Wenzhang "Dennis" Ma (China)
Institution: Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Academy PI: Jim Shevock, Botany
Project description: Visit by Dr. Ma Wen Zhang for curatorial training, professional development, identification of bryological specimens from the Gaoligonshan and developing floristic projects for future publication/collaboration.

About IBSS

The mission of the Academy's Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability (IBSS) is to gather new knowledge about life's diversity and the process of evolution—and to rapidly apply that understanding to our efforts to sustain life on Earth.