Close up image of a giant pouched rat skull

Brie Ilarde

Research Q & A

What’s your hometown?

I’m from the city of Camas, in southwest Washington.

What are you currently working on?

This natural history award will support extracting and sequencing DNA from the tissues of museum specimens of rodents from the family Nesomyidae. I’ll use those DNA sequences to build a phylogeny, a hypothesis of the relationships between the different species in the family.

What will your next steps/research be?

Once I have a complete phylogeny of Nesomyidae, I can use it to answer questions about how the family has evolved. In particular, I’ll be investigating how the African and Malagasy sister groups have diversified in their morphology.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps?

If something catches your interest, even just a little, follow that curiosity and see where it takes you!

What would be the 5 song soundtrack to your research work/What 5 songs do you listen to most while you work?

I usually just put all my music on shuffle, so here are five songs in my library with titles that literally or abstractly relate to my research:

  • To Lead You to An Overwhelming Question by Animals As Leaders
  • Africa by Marcus Warner
  • Even in Death by Clark Powell
  • Stupid Immortal Skull Monster Life by RJ Lake
  • AXES by caseJackal



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