Current Spotlight

Elton John de Lírio
Elton John de Lírio
Postdoctoral Fellow
University of São Paulo

 

Recent Spotlights

Jaqueline Alves Vieira
Jaqueline Alves Vieira
Graduate Student
São Paulo State University
(IBILCE/Unesp - Brazil)
Biology Sciences

 

Shweta Basnett
Shweta Basnett
Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Maryland, College Park
Entomology

 



Trinity Tobin
Trinity Tobin
Undergraduate Student
SUNY Cortland
Biological Science

 

Francis J. Nge
Francis J. Nge
Systematic Botanist
Royal Botanic Gardens and
Domain Trust, Sydney, Australia
Plant Diversity and Evolution team

 

Blaire M. Kleiman
Blaire M. Kleiman
Graduate Student
Florida International University
Earth and Environment

 

Jesús Martínez-Gómez
Jesús Martínez-Gómez
Postdoctoral Fellow
University of California, Berkeley
Plant and Microbial Biology

 

Adriana Hernandez
Adriana I. Hernandez
Postdoctoral Fellow
California Academy of Sciences
Botany

 

Trinity Depatie
Trinity Depatie
Graduate Student
University of South Carolina
Biological Sciences

 

Matias Köhler
Matias Köhler
Postdoctoral Fellow
São Carlos University (UFSCar),
São Paulo, Brazil
Biology Department

 

Kathryn Vanden Hoek
Kathryn Vanden Hoek
Undergraduate Student
University of Missouri - Columbia
Division of Biochemistry

 

Mario Blanco-Sánchez
Mario Blanco-Sánchez
Graduate Student
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos,
Madrid, Spain
Biología y Geología,
Física y Química Inorgánica

 

Oluwatobi Oso
Oluwatobi Oso
Graduate Student
Yale University
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology



Oluwatoyosi Adaramodu_
Oluwatoyosi Adaramodu
Graduate Student
University of Pennsylvania
Biology (School of art and sciences)

 

Johan David Reyes
Johan David Reyes
Graduate Student
Edge Hill University /
World Museum Liverpool
Bioscience

BSA Spotlight Series Logo BSA Spotlight Series  


The BSA Spotlight Series highlights professionals and early career scientists in the BSA community. Scientists' profiles are shared on all BSA social media platforms, Membership Matters, the BSA eNewsletter, and on this webpage.

The spotlight series shares both scientific goals and achievements, as well as personal interests of the botanical scientists, so you can get to know your BSA community better.

Are you a BSA member who would like to be highlighted, or do you know a BSA member that we should highlight in our Spotlight Series? Click here to fill out a simple form. This opportunity is open to current professional and early career (undergraduates, graduates, and postdoctoral positions) BSA members, to learn more about becoming a BSA member, click here.

Below is the most recent BSA member Spotlight. To see more information on past Spotlights, use the menu to the left.


Elton John de Lírio
Collaborator Researcher
University of São Paulo
Posted 3-27-24

Instagram

Elton John de Lírio

 

I am a biologist holding a Master's and PhD in Botany from the Instituto de Pesquisas Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), with part of my doctoral research conducted during an internship at the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (France). Throughout my academic journey, I have been dedicated mainly to studying Monimiaceae (the boldo family) and Aristolochiaceae (pipevine family), focusing on their systematics and conservation.

During my Ph.D., I conducted a comprehensive taxonomic review, performed phylogenetic analyses, and investigated pollen morphology and ultrastructure for the Neotropical Mollinedioideae (Monimiaceae). Additionally, I explored the sex expression of a species, enhancing our understanding of its reproductive biology.

In my postdoctoral phase, I continued research at esteemed institutions, including the University of São Paulo, Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro, and Universidade Federal do ABC. I undertook an internship at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, contributing to the PAFTOL (Plant and Fungal Trees of Life) project, focusing on Laurales (including Monimiaceae). This opportunity was made possible through the support of the International Association of Plant Taxonomists and the Bentham-Moxon Trust Grants.

Throughout my career, I have described 12 new species and rediscovered two species after over a century without collections. I led the Monimiaceae monograph for the Flora of Brazil Online and collaborated on monographs for three other plant families: Siparunaceae, Aristolochiaceae, and Canellaceae. I actively participate in the IUCN Species Survival Commission for plants from Brazil and Madagascar, contributing to extinction risk assessments, action plans, and conservation efforts for numerous plant species.

Currently, I am concluding a postdoctoral project focused on the endemic plant species of Minas Gerais state, Brazil, with a particular emphasis on species endemic to the Quadrilátero Ferrífero. This region, characterized by ""Cangas"" vegetation, is subjected to iron extraction and harbors many endemic and threatened species. Simultaneously, I am nearing completion of a project I lead, supported by the Conservation Leadership Program, addressing threatened plant species endemic to the Atlantic Forest. This initiative involves documenting threats, reassessing extinction risks, and proposing conservation actions in collaboration with local communities.

My upcoming endeavors include the phylogenomic reconstruction of Monimiaceae, analyzing sexual systems, and estimating genome size evolution. I am also embarking on a new project focused on the taxonomy and conservation of Podocarpus (Podocarpaceae) in the Atlantic Forest, funded by the EDGE of Existence program (promoted by the Zoological Society of London).

I have collaborated with national and international researchers throughout my career and actively engaged with professional societies. I am enthusiastic about the potential to further contribute to advancing botanical knowledge and conservation efforts.

 

Staminate flowers of Macropeplus friburgensis (Monimiaceae). Photo E J Lirio

 

How Elton got interested in the botanical sciences:

I was born in the countryside of Espírito Santo state, Brazil. I grew up on a farm where my parents worked as farmers. From my early years, I began to accompany my parents in the fields and had contact with the land and animals. Influenced by my father and maternal grandmother, I developed a liking for cultivating ornamental plants. During high school, due to my interest in Biology and plants, I became friends with the teacher who taught me that subject. She motivated me to take the entrance exam for Biological Sciences. Unfortunately, studying at the Federal University of Espírito Santo was not feasible since my family couldn't afford for me to live in the capital, Vitória, more than 80 km away from our home.

I then enrolled in a program sponsored by the Foundation for Research Support of the State of Espirito Santo (state government of Espírito Santo), allowing me to compete for a scholarship for the Biological Sciences program in the neighboring city. Receiving this scholarship, I could turn my dream of making my passion for plants into a profession. In the first semester of the course, I took the plant anatomy class with Professor Selma Hebling. Professor Selma's enthusiasm and passion for plants captivated me, and since then, I have been on this journey with plants.

Atlantic Forest, Teresópolis, Rio de Janeiro state. Photo J. A. A. S. Maior

Atlantic Forest, Teresópolis, Rio de Janeiro state. Photo J. A. A. S. Maior

 

Elton's advice for those just starting their botanical journey:

Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature and the wealth of knowledge stored in herbaria. Let your curiosity be the compass that guides your explorations. Engage in conversations with fellow enthusiasts and be receptive to collaborative opportunities. Don't allow insecurities to drown out your inner voice; let your confidence speak louder. Trust in your abilities and embrace the journey of discovery.


Elton's other passions:

I have a deep passion for travelling, relishing immersing myself in diverse cultures and exploring new places. Music holds a special place in my heart, and I am constantly looking for new songs to add to my playlist. I find solace in the melodies accompanying me on my life journeys.

On the more active side, I am a sports enthusiast, reveling in the thrill of physical activity and the camaraderie it fosters. Equally, I find joy in the quiet moments spent gardening, cultivating a connection with nature through nurturing plants.


 

Past Spotlights