2022 Dunavant Faculty Professorships

Jennifer Mandel, Department of Biological Sciences Jennifer Mandel

Jennifer Mandel received her PhD in Biological Sciences from Vanderbilt University in 2008. After postdoctoral training in the Plant Biology Department at the University of Georgia, she joined The University of Memphis as an assistant professor in 2014 and was promoted to associate professor in 2019. From 2019 to 2021 she served as the Assistant Director for the Department of Biological Sciences Center for Biodiversity and she currently serves as a member of the FedEx Institute of Technology’s ENDEAVOR-AgriTech Leadership Team.

Mandel and members of her lab (mandel-lab.org) study sunflowers and their relatives to understand the mechanisms that drive and maintain plant biodiversity. Research from her lab also focuses on using genetic and genomic approaches to study crop and wild species. Dr. Mandel’s research has been funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Smithsonian Institution. Recently she and colleagues at Auburn University and the University of Georgia have been awarded a 4 year $2.2M grant from the NSF Plant Genome Research Program to study the genomics of floral development and evolution in the sunflower family. Her work has been published in over 60 peer-reviewed articles in high impact journals including Nature and The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. She teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in Ecological Genetics, Plant Ecology, Molecular Ecology and Conservation, and General Biology.

She oversees a partnership with the Memphis Botanic Garden and the University of Memphis to promote academic and educational exchange between the two entities. She is a member of the Tennessee Plant Conservation Alliance Steering Committee, and she was recently elected to the Executive Committee for the Association of Southeastern Biologists where she also serves on their Human Diversity Committee. She serves as the Co-Editor in Chief of the journal CAPITLUM, an Associate Editor for Systematic Biology, and on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Systematics and Evolution.