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CAS student receives full ride for Ph.D. at Brown University

TAMPA, Fla. — USF College of Arts and Sciences senior Jeremy Lomax has been awarded a full ride into Brown University’s Ph.D. program to study ecology and evolutionary biology, specifically the biomechanics and functional morphology of fishes.

“I always wanted to be a marine biologist,” Lomax said. “It was trying to find out what kind of interest I had. I did a lot of different internships, and I got an REU, which is a research education undergrad experience…and I found out I really like teeth. I tell my family I’m kind of a fish dentist.”

In his REU, Lomax collaborated with Adam Summers, Ph.D., of the University of Washington. Summers also is known as the Fish Guy, and is credited as such in “Finding Nemo,” in which he served as a scientific consultant.

“The guy that I worked with is the reason ‘Finding Nemo’ is the way it is,” Lomax said.

The research took place in the lab of Phillip Motta, Ph.D., a professor of Lomax’s. Summers worked under Motta previously, and it was here Lomax was put in touch with Summers. Together they studied teeth models to see which were superior in terms of puncture and structural integrity.

“When I came in they pretty much said: ‘Here’s what we’re doing. Find a project,’” Lomax said. “So my project looked at how arrangement affected the crushing ability of teeth. I got to look at different animals in their natural environments, watch how they eat and then try my best to model that with computers and different milling techniques.”

It was the independence and self-sufficiency required in the lab that pushed Lomax themost. Motta told Lomax he was there to bounce ideas with, but would not do it for him.

“Yeah I failed a lot, but it’s good to have that environment where someone believes in your intelligence, drive and innovation, Lomax said. “It really got me to where I am now.”

Lomax said this experience was the reason behind his success in the scientific proposal he submitted for Brown’s application.

“That proposal was the result of someone pushing me and telling me ‘I believe you have the ability to do this. You should really push yourself,”’ Lomax said.

Lomax also thanks Keri Riegler at New Student Connections for being the guiding mentor to get him on track and push him in the right direction toward long-goal achievements. One of the ways in which Lomax has set out upon doing so is through the Dean’s Student Leadership Society (DSLS) where he describes the great network-building potentials.

“Very few people can say they have a letter of recommendation written from the dean of their college,” Lomax said. “I always tell people DSLS is the greatest thing that you’ll do in college.”

After Brown, Lomax hopes to obtain one or more postdoctoral degrees in other fields and increase his marketability to research one universities, where he hopes to someday run his own lab.

“High intensity, high reward,” Lomax said. “I already have this plan it’s going to be called the Lomax Lab.”


Filed under:Arts and Sciences Arts and Sciences Alumni Student Success   
Author:Sam Risak