Nathan Whelen

30under30 LOGOAfter graduating from Truman State University (Delta Delta), Nathan obtained a Ph.D. in Biology from University of Alabama. In 2011, he rediscovered the Oblong Rocksnail, which is a snail that had not been seen since 1935 and continued to work on conservation of this species to ensure its survival and the overall health of rivers in the southeastern United States.

Currently, Nathan is a postdoctoral research fellow at Auburn University studying evolution of invertebrate animals. One of his papers was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, and this work showed that Comb Jellies, rather than sponges as had long been assumed, are our most distant animal relative. In July, he is starting a position as the Regional Geneticist of the Southeast Region for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Advice for students and young alumni:
“Find an issue that you are passionate about. Embrace failure as a learning opportunity.”