International Scholar Research Support Program (ISRSP)

Our International Scholar Research Support Program fosters collaborations with researchers and students seeking to use genomic tools to answer questions relevant to avian evolutionary biology. These collaborations serve the double purpose of addressing specific research questions and enhancing the participating scholars’ skills with the genomic tools/bioinformatics pipelines that we use routinely in the Fuller Evolutionary Biology Lab. Our overarching goal is for our international colleagues to expand their expertise in applying genomic tools to questions in evolution, ecology, behavior, and conservation, and to use these techniques in subsequent studies and/or to teach them to their students/colleagues at their home institutions.

Our ISRSP participants visit the Fuller Program for periods ranging from one to six months. Most are at the advanced graduate student or postdoctoral career stage. They each bring with them pre-defined research questions derived from their own research program, and usually the biological samples required to address those questions.

Our lab group is particularly well suited for ISRSP scholars seeking to conduct studies using methods incluidng comparative genomics, full-genome resequencing, reduced-representation SNP assays, or SNP-based analyses of individual relatedness and parentage. These kinds of approaches are well suited for a range of studies, including investigations of the genetic basis of particular traits, phylogeography and landscape genetics, conservation genetics, systematics, and behavioral ecology.

In recent years, we have enjoyed hosting visitors from countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Great Britain, and Israel, as well as from numerous institutions within the USA. If you are potentially interested in joining our lab group for a visit of several weeks to several months, please contact us so that we can discuss your goals and our ability to support them. These opportunities generally involve substantial advance planning, especially when samples must be imported to our lab from other countries.

At present we do not provide travel or living support for ISRSP visitors. On a case-by-case basis we may be able to help cover the laboratory and computational costs of ISRSP projects.

Contact informtion: Program Coordinator Dr. Leonardo Campagna (


Recent Visitors

Belén Bukowski. Argentine Museum of Natural History (Argentina)

Belén is in Ithaca for the month of May (2018) and will be working on her doctoral dissertation (supervised by Dr. Darío Lijtmaer and Dr. Pablo Tubaro) which aims to understand the drivers of population differentiation in a few different bird species from the Neotropics. One of these species is the Southern lapwing (Vanellus chilensis), a widespread bird from South America. For those familiar with Neotropical birds, V. chilensis will try to takeover open green spaces and aggressively chase you away while frantically calling. It turns out that these calls are actually very different across the species’ range. Belén will generate ddRAD data to shed light on the evolutionary history of the species, and figure out if these different calls are coming from genetically differentiated populations.











Pablo Lavinia. Argentine Museum of Natural History (Argentina)

Pablo is visiting our lab in May and June of 2018 to conduct research in the context of his postdoc with Dr. Darío Lijtmaer and Dr. Pablo Tubaro in Argentina. Pablo will be studying a common Neotropical bird, the Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis). This bird is distributed from Tierra del Fuego in Argentina to Mexico. Most birds have two black stripes on their heads, but individuals from the southernmost portion of the distribution (in Patagonia) lack these stripes. These individuals, which belong to the subspecies Z. c. australis, are also exceptional because they are migrants. Pablo will be using whole genome sequencing to understand the genetic changes that make Z. c. australis birds phenotypically different.







Nicolás Lois. Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Nicolás visited in October of 2017 to conduct work on Southern rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes chrysocome) in the context of his PhD. Nicolás is interested in understanding the history of connectivity and potential barriers to gene flow in this species. Here he observes how samples collected over many long field seasons in islands of the southern Atlantic and Patagonia turn into a progressively smaller number of tubes. They were all finally combined into a single tube that went on the sequencer. 









Catalina Palacios. Universidad de los Andes (Colombia)

Catalina visited the Fuller Evolutionary Biology lab between February and August of 2017. She obtained genome sequences of two hummingbird species, Coeligena helianthea and Coeligena bonapartei, and for her PhD aims to understand the genetic basis of the differences between these two sister species. Catalina’s visit encompassed both snow storms in the winter and hot humid days in the summer, allowing her to experience the full spectrum of Ithaca weather.




Darío Lijtmaer and Cecilia Kopuchian. Argentine Museum of Natural History (Argentina) and Centro de Ecología Aplicada del Litoral (Argentina)

Darío and Cecilia coincided in their visit to the Fuller Evolutionary Biology lab in September of 2016. They are both researchers for the Argentine Research Council (CONICET) and have their own labs in Argentina. Darío is working on a phylogeographic study of the house wren (Troglodytes aedon). Cecilia is studying the role of the Paraná River in shaping population structure in many different passerine birds. This was Cecilia’s second visit to the Fuller Lab.







Sebastián Cabanne. Argentine Museum of Natural History (Argentina)

Sebastián’s second visit to Ithaca was in the summer of 2016. Sebastián’s lab in Argentina is interested in understanding the historical connectivity among biomes in the Neotropics. Sebastián uses a variety of passerine birds to study the biogeography of the Andean forest and the Atlantic forest in South America.







Márcio Repenning. Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil)

Márcio visited Ithaca during the summer and fall of 2015. He conducted both song and genetic analyses for his PhD, which involved understanding the variation in both types of data among closely related Sporophila seedeater species. Márcio focuses both on Capuchino Seedeaters (Sporophila) and on a pair of recently diverged Sporophilas, S. beltoni and S. plumbea. S. beltoni is a species from Southern Brazil that was recently described by Márcio and his PhD advisor Carla Fontana.






Luciano Calderón. University of Giessen (Gremany)

Luciano visited the Fuller Lab in the context of his postdoctoral work in February of 2015. He studied the migratory connectivity and demographic history of the endangered European turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur). Luciano developed genetic markers for doves sampled across Europe. Luciano’s publication from this study can be found here.






Cecilia Kopuchian and Sebastián Cabanne. Centro de Ecología Aplicada del Litoral (Argentina) and Argentine Museum of Natural History (Argentina)

Cecilia and Sebastián both have their own labs in Argentina and visited Ithaca in October of 2014. Cecilia worked on the endangered Ruddy-headed goose (Chloephaga rubidiceps) and other species of sheldgeese from southern Argentina. Cecilia’s publication from this project can be found here. Sebastián worked on a comparative phylogeography project involving different species of Neotropical passerines.






Pilar Benites. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (Mexico)

Pilar’s visit to Ithaca was in February of 2014. Pilar did work for her postdoc at UNAM in Mexico, including analyzing data from playback experiments in the field. In the picture she is hitting the submit button for the publication that can be found here.



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