Co-Principal Investigator

Plant Biology and Conservation
Northwestern University and The Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago, IL
Phone: 847-467-1266
Email: n-zerega@northwestern.edu

  • Truman State University B.A. in Biology, German minor, May 1995
  • New York University, M.S. in Biology, September 1998
  • New York University and New York Botanical Garden, Ph.D. in Biology/ Plant Resources, May 2003

Appointments and Professional Experience
  • Director of the Graduate Program in Plant Biology and Conservation (June 2005 - present), Northwestern University (NU) and the Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG)
  • Senior Lecturer (September 2010 - present; previously Lecturer from June 2005 - August 2010), NU
  • Research Associate, Field Museum of Natural History (June 2007 - present)
  • Curator, Nancy Poole Rich Herbarium (January 2007 - present), Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Research Associate (September 2003 - present), National Tropical Botanical Garden, Breadfruit Institute
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate (July 2003 - May 2005), Department of Plant Biology, University of Minnesota

Five Papers Relevant to the Proposed Research:
  • Zerega, N.J.C., M.N. Nur Supardi, and T.J. Motley. In press. Phylogeny and recircumscription of Artocarpeae (Moraceae) with a focus on Artocarpus. Systematic Botany 35 (4).
  • Khan, R., N.J.C. Zerega, S. Hossain, and M.I. Zuberi. 2010. Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam.) Diversity in Bangladesh: Land Use and Artificial Selection. Economic Botany 62 (2): 124-136.
  • Zerega, N.J.C., W.L. Clement, S.L. Datwyler, and G.D. Weiblen. 2005. Biogeography and divergence times in the mulberry family based on chloroplast and nuclear DNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37: 402-416.
  • Zerega, N.J.C., D. Ragone, and T.J. Motley. 2005. Breadfruit Origins, Diversity, and Human-faciliated Distribution. Pp. 213-238 in T.J. Motley, N.J.C. Zerega, and H.B. Cross [eds.], Darwin's Harvest: New Approaches to the Origins, Evolution, and Conservation of Crops. Columbia University Press, New York, New York, USA.
  • Zerega, N.J.C., D. Ragone, and T.J. Motley. 2004. Complex origins of breadfruit: Implications for human migrations in Oceania. American Journal of Botany 91(5): 760-766.

Five Other Significant Research Publications:
  • Rĝnsted, N., G.D. Weiblen, W.L. Clement, N.J.C. Zerega, and V. Savolainen. 2008. Reconstructing the phylogeny of figs (Ficus, Moraceae) to reveal the history of the fig pollination mutualism. Symbiosis 45: 45-56.
  • Zerega, N.J.C., D. Ragone, and T.J. Motley. 2005. Systematics and species limits of breadfruit (Artocarpus, Moraceae). Systematic Botany 30(3): 603-615.
  • Motley, T.J., N.J.C. Zerega, and H.B. Cross. 2005. Darwin's Harvest: New Approaches to the Origins, Evolution, and Conservation of Crops. Columbia University Press, New York, New York, USA.
  • Zerega, N.J.C., Mound, L.A., and G.D. Weiblen. 2004. Pollination in the New Guinea endemic Antiaropsis decipiens ( Moraceae) is mediated by a new species of thrips, Thrips antiaropsidis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). International Journal of Plant Sciences 165(6):1017-1026.
  • Motley T. J., L. Lück and N. J. C. Zerega. 2004. Genetic diversity and DNA fingerprinting of black cohosh (Actaea racemosa). Proceeding of the Global Summit on Medicinal Plants 1:112-118.

Synergistic Activities:
  • Conference and Symposium Organization: Organizer, Student Symposium in Plant Biology and Conservation Research (Chicago Botanic Garden, July 2007). This one-day symposium brought together students from throughout the US to present their research in a relaxed setting to fellow students in the field of plant biology and conservation. Co-organizer, 48th annual meeting for the Society for Economic Botany (Chicago, June 2007).
  • Broadening representation in science through mentorship: Served as a research mentor for an African American female in the summer program "College First" at the Chicago Botanic Garden (Summers 2008 and 2009). This is an intensive, dynamic program for Chicago Public High School students who could be the first in their families to attend college. The program consists of part career mentorship, part field ecology and conservation science, and part college prep and assistance. Served as a mentor for an African American male in the NSF-REU program at the Chicago Botanic Garden (Summer 2008). Served as a mentor for a Hispanic female in the NSF-REU program at the Chicago Botanic Garden (Summer 2009).

Collaborators and Research Associates: Sarelle Caicedo (The Evergreen State College),Wendy Clement (University of Minnesota), Hugh Cross (Nationaal Herbarium Nederland), Wayne Daniel (Dillard University), Louise Egerton-Warburton, Salma Hossain (Gono University, Bangladesh), Diane Huebner (NU), Ruby Khan (University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh), Tracy Misiewicz (NU), Timothy Motley (New York Botanical Garden), Diane Ragone (National Tropical Botanical Garden), Nina Ronsted (Kew Botanic Garden), Vincent Savolainen (Imperial College, London) Caroline Storer (Eckerd College), Nur Supardi (Forest Research Institute of Malaysia), George Weiblen (University of Minnesota), Colby Witherup (Northwestern University), M.I. Zuberi (University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh)

Graduate and Post-Doctoral Advisors:

  • Major Ph.D. thesis advisor: Timothy Motley, Old Dominion University (previously at The New York Botanical Garden)
  • Ph.D. thesis committee members: Gloria Coruzzi (New York University, NYU), Richard Borowsky (NYU), Diane Ragone (National Tropical Botanical Garden), Dennis Stevenson (New York Botanical Garden)
  • Postdoctoral advisor: George Weiblen (University of Minnesota)

Thesis advisor and post-graduate scholar sponsor:
  • Colby Witherup, MS student at NU (expected graduation June 2011)
  • Tracy Misiewicz, MS student at NU (graduated December 2009)
  • Diane Huebner, MS student at NU (graduated June 2009)

Discover Life