The Charles B. Heiser Graduate Fellowship in Plant Evolution was established in 2002. It honors Distinguished Emeritus Professor Charles Heiser, who died on June 11, 2010. The fellowship was first awarded in 2009.
About Charles B. Heiser
Charles B. Heiser joined the IU faculty in 1947 and spent his entire career here. Heiser was a leading authority on sunflowers and a renowned ethnobotanist. His interests included natural hybridization and its evolutionary significance, as well as the origin of domesticated plants and agriculture. He was also an expert on naranjillas, gourds, chili peppers, and totora.
Heiser was a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and he received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1953. He served as president of the American Society for Plant Taxonomy, the Society for the Study of Evolution, the Society for Economic Botany, and the Botanical Society of America.
2020 Heiser Fellow: Matthew Gibson
Matt Gibson is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Professor Leonie Moyle's lab where he studies evolutionary and conservation genetics in wild tomatoes. His research is focused on characterizing several conservation threats faced by tomato species endemic to the Galápagos Islands, specifically those imposed by a biological invasion of their close South American relatives. He is particularly interested in understanding the role that hybridization between invasive and endemic species may have in affecting species persistence. He will use the Heiser fellowship to visit remote field sites on the islands in order to confirm findings from previous field seasons which have suggested the rapid extinction of many endemic populations. At IU, Matt also volunteers as an instructor for the Foundations in Science and Mathematics program and as a research mentor through the Jim Holland Summer Science Research program.