Welcome New Colleagues

The Division of Biological Sciences welcomes two new Preparing Future Faculty Postdoctoral Fellows to the campus and the department, bringing with them a wealth of expertise in ecology.

Dr. Johana Goyes Vallejos is an evolutionary behavioral ecologist who studies the evolution of calling behavior, mating systems, and parental care in frogs.

Dr. Goyes Vallejos earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia, and her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Connecticut. She did her postdoctoral training with the Biodiversity Institute at the University of Kansas, Lawrence.

As part of her graduate work, Dr. Goyes Vallejos discovered evidence for sex-role reversal in the smooth guardian frog of Borneo (Limnonectes palavanensis). Her research, which combines observational and experimental field and laboratory studies, makes L. palavanensis the best candidate to be the first example of this unusual mating system in frogs. Her studies have been published in Ethology, The Journal of Natural History, and Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology and been featured by The New York Times, Science Magazine, and National Geographic (España).

Dr. Goyes Vallejos has taught a field course on animal behavior and a graduate course on vertebrate social behavior and has demonstrated her dedication to contributing to inclusion and diversity in STEM fields by mentoring young scientists from diverse backgrounds during her doctoral training and as an instructor/mentor for an intensive summer NSF-funded research program for underrepresented minorities in Costa Rica.

At MU, Dr. Goyes Vallejos is excited to continue her studies of the smooth guardian frog of Borneo and to co-teach courses on evolution and evolutionary biology. Dr. Goyes Vallejos is being co-mentored by Dr. Manuel Leal and Libby King.

Dr. Gaurav Kandlikar is a quantitative ecologist who studies how interactions between plants and soil microbial communities shape natural plant communities.

Dr. Kandlikar earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and his Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. His dissertation, which focused on the coexistence among annual plant species in California grasslands, combined mathematical models and field and greenhouse experiments. His studies have been published in The Journal of Ecology, Ecology Letters, Journal of Tropical Ecology, and The American Naturalist.

He has taught a graduate course on teaching in the life sciences and has been invited to lecture in undergraduate courses on plant biology, biodiversity, and environmental soil microbiology at UCLA. He also established “Hacky Hours,” a weekly peer-networking program to teach coding and informatics to graduate students. He has demonstrated his dedication to contributing to inclusion and diversity in STEM fields throughout his career by mentoring young scientists from diverse backgrounds both at his home institution and through the Ecological Society of America’s SEEDS program.

Dr. Kandlikar is excited to apply his approach of integrating empirical data with rigorous theoretical and statistical models to the dynamics that shape plant communities in Missouri prairies, glades, and forest ecosystems. Dr. Kandlikar is being co-mentored by Dr. Lauren Sullivan and Dr. Pamela Brown.

The Preparing Future Faculty- Faculty Diversity Postdoctoral Program is designed to promote and develop scholars for tenure-track faculty positions at the University of Missouri or elsewhere, in any discipline. The fellowships are for two years, during which time the scholars focus on scholarship and participate in professional development activities that integrate and expose them to the faculty experience, including the opportunity to teach in their discipline during the second year.