November 14, 2005

Joshua Der wins master's thesis award

by Tim Crosby

josh derr

CARBONDALE, ILL -- A plant biologist is the 2005 winner of the SIU Alumni Association Outstanding Master's Thesis Award.

The association selected Joshua P. Der for his work titled "Molecular Phylogenetics and Classification of Santalaceae." With his advisor, Daniel Nickrent, professor in the Department of Plant Biology, Der examined the evolutionary relationships within the sandalwood family, which includes plants such as mistletoe and sandal tree. Der used DNA sequence data to infer the relationships among genera and in turn to revise the classification of the major groups within the family.

The graduate school submitted Der's thesis as SIUC's nominee for the master's thesis competition at the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools. The alumni association will honor Der and Nickrent during its April 2006 meeting where Der will receive a $500 honorarium. He also will receive recognition during the May 2006 graduation ceremony.

Der, a native of Westminster, Calif., currently is pursuing a doctorate in biology at Utah State University. He hopes to teach and do research in the university setting.

Offering progressive graduate education is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint the University is following as it approaches is 150th anniversary in 2019.