The Office of the Vice President for Research's Breakthrough Graduate Scholar Award recognizes exceptional graduate students who demonstrate excellence in the classroom, and make considerable contributions to research and scholarly activities in their field. Approximately one dozen exceptional graduate students are honored with this award each spring.
Michelle Passerotti is a graduate student in the lab of Dr. Joe Quattro. Her research focuses on using innovative techniques to assess age and condition in marine finfish and shark species, with the goal of using these findings to further management and global ocean policy and conservation. Michelle has notably adapted a method used to age insects and cadavers to ageing ear stones in fish in order to determine their age. Compared to prior approaches, the new technique developed by Michelle is a great improvement in time and effort, a large savings in cost, and as such, will truly revolutionize fish ageing. Michelle has so far published two studies from her dissertation in peer-reviwed journals and is currently finishing a third. She has also been very successful in gaining extramural and internal funding: Michelle has notably received a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Fellowship ($25,000), a SPARC Award from the Office of the Vice President for Research ($5,000), and was a co-PI on a funded SeaGrant ($115,000). Congrats Michelle!