Dr. Sharlene Santana is Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington and Curator of Mammals at the University of Washington’s Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. As an integrative and evolutionary biologist, Sharlene explores questions about evolution from a variety of perspectives. She is working to understand why some groups of organisms are more diverse in terms of their number of species, appearance, or behavior. There are over 1,400 species of bats that fulfill a variety of ecological roles, and much of Sharlene’s research focuses on diversity in bats. Sharlene loves trying new restaurants in Seattle, as well as traveling to other countries and learning about other cultures. In her free time, you can find Sharlene hiking or swimming with her dog, attending ballet performances, and listening to music and podcasts. She is also a fan of good storytelling in books, movies, TV series, and documentaries. She completed her undergraduate training in biology at the University of the Andes in Venezuela, and she was awarded her Ph.D. in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Afterwards, Sharlene conducted postdoctoral research at the Institute for Society and Genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles. She joined the faculty at the University of Washington in 2012. In our interview, Sharlene shares more about her life and research.
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