My name is Min Ya, or Ya Min, but I go by Minya. I was born and raised in China. Heavily influenced by my botany-enthusiast father, I have been a plant lover since I was very little. Before grad school, I finished my undergrad in China and Japan, and obtained dual Master’s Degree in Sweden and France. Although the subfields of biology varied between my past research projects, my study organisms were always plants. Currently I’m a second year graduate student at the OEB department, using the beautiful Columbine flowers to explore one main question: how is the natural variation in floral meristem proliferation controlled at the evolutionary level? In other words, why do the stem cells in some flowers make numerous floral organs but some only make very few? What are their genetic bases? I’m absolutely in love with my research and also feel very grateful for the fact that it’s a nice integration of molecular lab work, computational analysis, histology and microscopy, and morphological characterization. It allows me spending a lot of time with my plants, documenting their details at all levels, from macroscopic to microscopic. Outside of lab I also do many botanical illustrations with watercolor and colored pencil – no, there is no such thing as “plant overload”. In fact, isn’t their mere existence an infinite source of inspiration for art and science since the earliest days of our civilization?
Watch for new pieces from Min Ya’s collection to be posted here and on our Instagram throughout the month of April, 2017.