Congrats to Dr. Matute!

March 11, 2011 • 7:40 am

UPDATE: He passed (natürlich), with a departmental record closed session of only 35 minutes.

Five years ago I returned from a sabbatical in France to find a graduate student from Colombia sitting on a stool in my lab, peering at flies through the microscope.  His name was Daniel Matute, and he had decided to do a temporary “rotation” in my lab—one of those “let’s-spend-ten-weeks-doing-research-in-a-lab-to-see-how-it-feels” experiences.  Fortunately, Daniel never left, and this morning he will take his formal exam for the Ph.D.  In our department, this consists of presenting a one-hour public talk followed by a closed session in which the candidate is examined by the five members of his committee.

I suspect, however, that the examination will be perfunctory given that this is what he’s accomplished so far:

Matute D. R., C. J. Novak, and J. A. Coyne. 2009. Temperature-based extrinsic reproductive isolation in two species of Drosophila. Evolution 63: 595-612

Matute, D.R., Butler, I.A. & Coyne, J.A. Little or no effect of the tan locus on pigmentation levels inviable female hybrids between Drosophila santomea and D. melanogaster. Cell; 139: 1180-118

Matute D.R., Coyne JA. 2010. Intrinsic reproductive isolation between two sisters species of Drosophila. Evolution; 64: 903 – 920

Matute D.R. 2010. Reinforcement of gametic isolation in Drosophila. PLoS Biol. Mar 23;8(3):e1000341.

Comment in: Mair W. Reinforcing reinforcement. PLoS Biol. 2010 23;8(3):e1000340.

Matute D.R., Butler I.A., Turissini D.A. and Coyne J.A. 2010. The rate of evolution of hybrid incompatibilities in Drosophila. Science, 329: 1518-1521

Comment in: Milton J. Nature News. 2010. Animal and plant genes hardwired for speciation. doi:10.1038/news.2010.476
Research Highlight: Nature Reviews Genetics 11, 748 (November 2010) | doi:10.1038/nrg2895
Dispatch: Presgraves, D. C. Speciation Genetics: Search for the Missing Snowball. Current Biology, 20, R1073-R1074.

Matute D.R. 2010. Reinforcement can overcome gene flow during speciation in Drosophila. Current Biology, 20: 2229-2233.

And there are at least three more papers in the offing.  Daniel, you’ve been a great student and a credit to the lab.

It’s heartening but also sad to see the students come and go over the years: they move on to their careers while I, like a microscope, remain a aging and permanent fixture in the lab.  But let me publicly congratulate the lad, here, in advance.  Best wishes for a stellar career!

Daniel Matute, Ph.D. in statu nascendi

21 thoughts on “Congrats to Dr. Matute!

  1. A great photo – presumably taken in a ‘No Fly Zone’?! Well done Doc.

    Travertine marble I believe…

  2. Congratulations, doc!

    Now, go out and repay the favors done to you by the previous generation to the next generation — and be sure to have fun while doing so!



  3. Congrats on your CV near-Dr Matute. I say “merde” for today – I’m sure it will go swimmingly (ha!). And, of course, congrats to his supervisor, too! Drink some champagne on me!

  4. Having Ph.D. students is very much like having kids. Watching and helping them develop though the long process of ups and downs is one of the most rewarding and proud experiences there is. Congratulations to both of you, especially Daniel!

  5. Graduate students are like investments – some of them develop and wind up paying dividends. You are surely in that group, Daniel. Best wishes for continued success.

  6. Congratulations! I’ll be watching for further appearances of that name.

    All those Drosophila! You guys are the culprits for last summer’s infestation! Must have been coming down the intertubes…

  7. Bravo, El Doctor Daniel. Enjoy your well-deserved laurels, and give that supervisor of yours a hug. Congratulations, both!

  8. Many thanks Jerry. My wife, Luz Stella, is a graduate of The District University of Bogota (EE) and always likes to see good news about Colombianos and congrats Sr. Matute.

  9. First congratulations to your student, who looks to be very impressive.

    One thing though that puzzles me. I did my PhD in England where I had three years to get it done. I was far less successful than Daniel clearly has been and only had one publication which came out a little after I had passed. Although there is no set time limit for a viva, I was in there for 3 hours – which is not uncommon – and was grilled extensively on almost every single page of my thesis.

    I then moved to the US as a postdoc. Over here, students tend to spend considerably longer as graduate students and (perhaps consequently?) have more publications when they graduate. However, having spent considerably longer on their thesis, they then have a considerably shorter examination on it, as far as I can tell.

    Anyone care to comment on this? I am not suggesting this is a problem or in any way wrong. It just puzzles me a little.

    1. Cultural differences, perhaps. We can observe people from some nations that better go unnamed who questions people during their disputation _solely on basic stuff_. Instead of what was actually the topic (and newness) of their research, like a proper review. D’oh!

      Of course, it is all anecdotal.

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