A Successful School of Life Sciences Alumnus
by Javier A. Rodríguez
Former School of Life Sciences doctoral student Matthew R. Graham (Ph.D. 2007-2012; Advisors: Dr. Brett Riddle and Dr. Jef Jaeger) was promoted to tenured Associate Professor of Biology at Eastern Connecticut State University (ECSU), and elected to become Assistant Chair of the Department of Biology in 2019.
Graham was a dedicated graduate student; during his tenure at SoLS he coauthored 11 peer-reviewed articles with fellow graduate students and his advisors, including the description of a new scorpion species (Wernerius inyoensis) from California’s Death Valley National Park, a study that was featured in several national and international media outlets. During his last year at UNLV, Dr. Graham accepted a professorial appointment at ECSU, which he joined in August 2013.
“The School of Life Sciences was the first place where I fully immersed myself in a vibrant research setting. I enjoyed being part of a program where my advisors, other faculty, and student researchers worked collaboratively to solve biological problems and push the boundaries of our field. Naturally, I carried this spirit to ECSU, where I work closely with my colleagues (several now study scorpions!) and encourage my own students to dive in and push the limits of what they think they can accomplish,” said Graham.
Graham and his collaborators at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science and the University of Colorado, Denver were recently awarded a four-year, $1,034,011 grant from the National Science Foundation to study North American Camel Spiders (also called Wind Scorpions), an important group of arachnids that thrives in arid environments. The grant will allow Graham to hire the first ever postdoctoral researcher in his Department.
The academic environment provided by the School of Life Sciences and Graham’s hard work and dedication led this proud UNLV alum to become a successful young scholar.