C. Cornelia Osborne
Graduate Student (PhD); Co-advised with Iliana Baums
Biology Graduate Program
Cornelia is a Ph.D. student in the department of Biology. She completed her undergraduate education in Biology and Environmental Studies at Grinnell College (Iowa). Prior to joining the Baums and Szpiech labs, she was a research assistant at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) studying gene regulatory networks and cell fate during larval development in the marine snail, Crepidula fornicata. At Penn State, Cornelia's PhD interest lies in developing ways restoration scientists may be able to engineer Caribbean reefs to be more thermally tolerant. Her research addresses this by 1) investigating the fertilization dynamics and determinants of egg-sperm compatability of hermaphrodictic broadcasting corals, 2) determining the transcriptomic and physiological mechanisms that allow the cross-species hybrid coral, Acropora prolifera, to thrive in extreme environments and 3) creating coral chimeras by fusing two geneticially distinct juvenile corals into one, potentially faster growing and more resiliant coral colony. Ultimately, Cornelia's work combines field, genetic, and molecular methods to advance coral restoration and conservation in light of climate change.