About Our Professors

Our faculty are personally interested in students’ careers! The instructors are nationally and internationally renowned men and women who are tops in their fields. Each student is assigned a personal advisor to help him/her select the classes and career path that are most suitable for him/her.

Matt Lavin, PhD, 1986, University of Texas at Austin

Research interests:
The emphasis of my research is on the molecular systematics and biogeography of the plant legume family (Fabaceae or Leguminosae), including the cultivated species, and the application of neutral ecology and phylogeny to understanding niche conservation and dispersal limitation among the different growth habits of legumes and among the larger scale vegetation types in which legumes are particularly diverse. These include seasonally dry tropical forests and scrub (rich in succulent taxa such as Cactaceae and Euphorbiaceae), tropical savannas and associated forests (rich in grass species), tropical wet forests, and temperate vegetation. I use community and taxon phylogenetic approaches to study how ecology shapes phylogeny. Phylogenetic analyses involve DNA sequence data from the chloroplast and nuclear genomes. I also have a research interests in the biodiversity of the sagebrush prairie (steppe) vegetation in western North America, the floristics of Montana, and the taxonomy of the grass family (Poaceae). My interest in the sagebrush prairie stems from being born and raised within the confines of this biome and spending my first graduate school years studying it within the region of the Walker River drainage in California and Nevada. My Montana floristic interests come from my Plant Systematics course, and my interest in grasses stems from the Agrostology course that I instruct.