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2019 Predoctoral Researchers


Danielson Baia Amaral

Federal University of Pará

When Danielson Baia Amaral was four years old, he knew what his parents could do with an empty room in their new house “Mom, I need this room to build my lab,” he demanded.

That interest bloomed for Baia Amaral, and ultimately led him to the Graduate School of the Stowers Institute as a predoctoral researcher, where he plans to focus on evolutionary developmental biology.

Baia Amaral has already published research in the field as co-first author on a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States of America on the evolution of vertebrate fin and limb regeneration. He studied how salamanders use a specific set of genes during limb regeneration that are also used by fish in fin regeneration. He and his co-authors believe that the research indicates a common origin of fin and limb regeneration in the last common ancestor of all bony vertebrates.

His master’s degree focused on evolutionary developmental biology as well. His dissertation focused on a cell signaling pathway and gene enhancer in lungfish, a fish closely related to tetrapods that some paleontologists have proposed to have fin bones homologous to digits.

At the Stowers Institute, he will continue to study evolutionary developmental biology while also developing the skills necessary to become a professional scientist. He hopes to have his own research lab one day.

Baia Amaral’s decision to do his predoctoral research in the U.S. was influenced by a year he spent at Indiana University in Bloomington during his undergraduate studies. He chose the program at the Graduate School of the Stowers Institute because he enjoyed his time in the Midwest, and because was looking for a small program with access to the latest technology and a straightforward research-oriented approach.