Biolink Team

DOUG SOLTIS has been investigating the Tree of Life (ToL) for over 30 years. He also helped to assemble the first rough draft tree of all named life and has been involved in using the ToL as a way to reach the public to stress the importance of biodiversity (see TEDXUF). He is writing a book with P. Soltis entitled “Tree of Life” to stress this theme to the public. Exhibits on the ToL at both the Harn and Powell Hall (prepared with members of this grant) will open this fall.

SHARI ELLIS is a developmental psychologist and evaluator with an interest in math and science learning. She has over 20 years of university teaching experience, and 15 yearsin museum education programs. She also has 10 years of experience evaluating NSF-funded projects including the Panama Canal Project PIRE, Open Tree of Life, and iDigBio.

MATT GIZENDANNER is a computational evolutionary biologist. He is interested in computational tools and data analysis methods for “big data” and exploring big data in diverse fields, such as with collaborations in the digital humanities. Matt is an organizer of the Gator Computing Program, a 2-week summer program for high school students, which will spotlight the diverse ways in which computational tools drive research across UF from English to Engineering.

ERIC SEGAL is a museum educator and art historian at the Harn Museum of Art. As Curator of Academic Programs, he collaborates with faculty across all units of the university to foster interdisciplinary programs and to develop creative ways to join the museum with curricular activities. As Director of Education, he leads a team in developing engaging learning opportunities for exhibitions and in creating "always-on" educational experiences for students and community members.

PAM SOLTIS is a plant evolutionary biologist in the Florida Museum of Natural History. Her work for over 30 years has focused on the origins, relationships, and conservation of plant diversity. She is Director of UF’s new Biodiversity Institute, which will be a major partner of Biolink. She is active in public outreach regarding biodiversity, the Tree of Life, and conservation.

BETHANY TAYLOR is an interdisciplinary artist employing autobiographical, site-specific, and material-based narrative to illuminate issues in social justice and encourage an ethic of social responsibility. Her current work conveys narratives of adaptation, alteration, and loss, as a result of over-consumption, violence, water mismanagement, unchecked agricultural and industrial practices, and species extinction.

JULIE WATERS is an exhibit developer at the Florida Museum with a background in geology, paleontology, and science education. As part of the Museum’s Exhibits Team, she works with scientists to communicate their research and make various science topics, including the Tree of Life, accessible to the public. She is the lead developer for the Museum’s 100th Anniversary exhibition.


HANNAH CHELGREN is Biolink’s website coordinator. She is currently a Sophomore at the University of Florida with goals to become a scientific illustrator and museum collections curator. She is majoring in Visual Art Studies and minoring in Botany, and she combines both science and art in her natural history inspired lithographs and drawings.