UPDATE: He passed (natürlich), with a departmental record closed session of only 35 minutes.
Five years ago I returned from a sabbatical in France to find a graduate student from Colombia sitting on a stool in my lab, peering at flies through the microscope. His name was Daniel Matute, and he had decided to do a temporary “rotation” in my lab—one of those “let’s-spend-ten-weeks-doing-research-in-a-lab-to-see-how-it-feels” experiences. Fortunately, Daniel never left, and this morning he will take his formal exam for the Ph.D. In our department, this consists of presenting a one-hour public talk followed by a closed session in which the candidate is examined by the five members of his committee.
I suspect, however, that the examination will be perfunctory given that this is what he’s accomplished so far:
Matute D. R., C. J. Novak, and J. A. Coyne. 2009. Temperature-based extrinsic reproductive isolation in two species of Drosophila. Evolution 63: 595-612
Matute, D.R., Butler, I.A. & Coyne, J.A. Little or no effect of the tan locus on pigmentation levels inviable female hybrids between Drosophila santomea and D. melanogaster. Cell; 139: 1180-118
Matute D.R., Coyne JA. 2010. Intrinsic reproductive isolation between two sisters species of Drosophila. Evolution; 64: 903 – 920
Matute D.R. 2010. Reinforcement of gametic isolation in Drosophila. PLoS Biol. Mar 23;8(3):e1000341.
Comment in: Mair W. Reinforcing reinforcement. PLoS Biol. 2010 23;8(3):e1000340.
Matute D.R., Butler I.A., Turissini D.A. and Coyne J.A. 2010. The rate of evolution of hybrid incompatibilities in Drosophila. Science, 329: 1518-1521
Comment in: Milton J. Nature News. 2010. Animal and plant genes hardwired for speciation. doi:10.1038/news.2010.476
Research Highlight: Nature Reviews Genetics 11, 748 (November 2010) | doi:10.1038/nrg2895
Dispatch: Presgraves, D. C. Speciation Genetics: Search for the Missing Snowball. Current Biology, 20, R1073-R1074.
Matute D.R. 2010. Reinforcement can overcome gene flow during speciation in Drosophila. Current Biology, 20: 2229-2233.
And there are at least three more papers in the offing. Daniel, you’ve been a great student and a credit to the lab.
It’s heartening but also sad to see the students come and go over the years: they move on to their careers while I, like a microscope, remain a aging and permanent fixture in the lab. But let me publicly congratulate the lad, here, in advance. Best wishes for a stellar career!
Daniel Matute, Ph.D. in statu nascendi