HAMPTON, Va. (September 18, 2020) – Dr. Carolina Bonin Lewallen, Assistant Professor for the Hampton University Marine and Environmental Science Department, has been awarded a $300,000 Research Initiation Award from the National Science Foundation to study molecular markers in the skin of common bottlenose dolphins.
“Here at Hampton University, we have some of the most profound and accomplished professors. We look forward to the success and research of Dr. Lewallen and the Marine and Environmental Department,” said Hampton University President, Dr. William R. Harvey.
Dr. Lewallen leads the Marine Science Genetics Laboratory for the Hampton University Marine and Environmental Science Department, studying the ecology and evolution of marine mammals using traditional and novel molecular markers. Dr. Lewallen earned her PhD at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in California working on Antarctic fur seals. She is also a marine biologist trained in population genetics and the use of molecular tools to study the ecology and behavior of marine organism.
With her recent award, Dr. Lewallenhopes this work will pave the way to examine the commonalities between human and dolphin skin disease at the molecular level and by extension, highlight the inherent evolutionary connections between humans and other mammals.
“I appreciate the opportunity to advance marine mammal research, while providing Hampton University students with cutting-edge research training. These efforts are only possible through the continued support of my colleagues in the Departments of Marine and Environmental Science and Biology,” said Dr. Lewallen.
At Hampton University, Dr. Lewallen continues to study marine mammal ecology and behavior using molecular techniques to address new problems in marine science. She has published numerous manuscripts and is an associate editor for Gene. She is also the co-director of the NSF-Association of Limnology and Oceanography Multicultural Program.