Nathan S. Upham


2014 Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology; University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.

2010 M.S. in Evolutionary Biology; University of Chicago.

2008 M.A. in Biology; Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA. (Cal Tech courses)

2006 B.A. in Biology; Occidental College. (UK exchange, Univ East Anglia 2004)


(pending). U.S. National Science Foundation, “RaMP: Arizona Island Biodiversity Network (AZ iBioNet): Dryland Oases for Research Mentorship in a Rapidly Changing World” to NSF 23-514, DBI-Research and Mentoring for Postbaccalaureates in Biological Sciences (RaMP) (PI with co-PI Sharon J. Hall). Proposed: $2,415,939 in direct costs (2024-2028), proposal #2319859.

(pending). U.S. National Science Foundation, “DMS/NIGMS 2: Spatial, Multi-Host Petri Net Models for Zoonotic Disease Forecasting” to NSF 22-600, Joint DMS/NIGMS Initiative to Support Research at the Interface of the Biological and Mathematical Sciences (Co-PI with PI B. Sterner and Co-PI P. Jevtic). Proposed: $789,242 direct costs (2023-2027), proposal # 2246201.

2023. U.S. National Science Foundation, “Collaborative Research: Ranges: Building capacity to extend mammal specimens from western North America” to NSF 21-501, DBI-ICBR (Capacity): Biocollections (PI with Co-PI D. Rowsey, along with 20 institutions). Awarded: $11,752 direct costs (2023-2025), award #2228395 (to digitize specimen tags and field notes in the ASU Mammals Collection).

2021. U.S. National Institutes of Health, “Intelligently predicting viral spillover risks from bats and other wild mammals” R21 in response to PA-19-068, Secondary Analysis of Existing Datasets for Advancing Infectious Disease Research (PI with DeeAnn Reeder; also B. Sterner, A. Sen, N. Franz, A. Varsani, and J. Rees). Awarded: $301,232 direct costs (2021-2023), 1R21AI164268-01.

2018. National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), Thematic Pursuit, “The death and life of biodiversity: Modeling extinction and resilience on islands” (co-PI with Siobhán Cooke, Liliana Dávalos, Alexis Mychajliw, & Angelo Soto-Centeno), 3 meetings of 15 people (>$30,000, 2019-2021).

2014. Royal Ontario Museum, Schad Conservation Grant, “Integrating ecological and economic tools for sustainable conservation: Mammals as indicators of ecosystem and societal health in the Dominican Republic” (co-author with Burton Lim as PI), $30,000 (2014-2015).

2012. Field Museum of Natural History, Lester Armour Grad Fellow, $26,000 stipend/yr (2012-2013).

2011. National Science Foundation, Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (DDIG), “DISSERTATION RESEARCH Fossils and phylogeny: investigating the timing of diversification in a diverse lineage of Neotropical rodents (Caviomorpha: Octodontoidea)” (co-PI with Bruce Patterson as PI/PD), $15,000 (2011-2013), DEB-1110805.


2022. Ebbe Nielsen Challenge, Global Biodiversity Information Facility, 2nd place award for the project GBIF LACS: GBIF Literature Abstract Classification System developed with Ángel Luis Robles Fernández.

2019. Art in Research Competition, Yale Office of the Provost, 1st place in two categories and Overall Best Entry for ‘Species-level relationships of mammals’ (Figure 1 here).

2012. American Society of Mammalogists, A. Brazier Howell Graduate Student Honorarium for “Diversification and biogeography of a major lineage of Neotropical rodents (Caviomorpha: Octodontoidea)” (including plenary session invited talk).

2006. American Society of Mammalogists, Undergraduate Student Research Honoraria for “Phylogeography of the dark kangaroo mouse, Microdipodops megacephalus”.

2006. Occidental College, graduated magna cum laude in Biology.

2005. Occidental College, Kurata Student Award for Outstanding Senior in Biology.


2016. Instrumentl, crowdfunding grant, “The super-sized genomes of desert vizcacha rats” (PI with Ben Evans and Agustina Ojeda as co-PIs), $978 from 12 donations.

2011. University of Chicago, Hinds Fund (Committee on Evolutionary Biology), “Time, species, and morphology: investigating the diversification of a diverse lineage of Neotropical rodents (Caviomorpha: Octodontoidea),” $1000.

2010. American Society of Mammalogists, Grant-in-Aid of Research, “Diversification of the South American rodent superfamily Octodontoidea: enhancing temporal and phylogenetic resolution with a complete suite of genera,” $1290.

2009. Field Museum of Natural History, Pritzker Laboratory, “Timetree of Neotropic rodents,” $2000.

2005. Norris Foundation, Norris Scholars Fellowship, “Molecular phylogenetics of the dark kangaroo mouse, Microdipodops megacephalus,” $3000 project, $8000 stipend.

2004. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Undergrad Summer Fellow, $200 project, $4150 stipend.

2004. Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Undergraduate Research Grant, $500 project, $600 stipend.

2003. Occidental College, Academic Student Projects Research Grant, $300 project.

2002. Occidental College, President’s Scholarship, $50,000 for tuition (2002-2006).


2020-present. Consortium of European Taxonomic Facilities-Distributed System of Scientific Collections (CETAF-DiSSCo) COVID-19 Taskforce, group of biodiversity collections-oriented scientists in the US, Europe, and South America working to liberate host-virus ecological data.

2020-present. Museums and Emerging Pathogens in the Americas (MEPA), group of researchers, policy makers, and advanced students from 9 countries in Central, North, and South America.

2018-present. North American Rodents Landscapes Ecology & Evolution (NARLEE) Working Group, adding rodent evolution expertise to 30-person RCN of geologists, modelers, biologists.

2020. ViralMuse Taskforce, group for multi-disciplinary conversation about linking natural history collections with public health efforts, especially regarding host-pathogen relationships.

2017. State of the Tree of Life (SoToL) Working Group, invited to represent Mammalia in 40-person group spanning microbes, sponges, fungi, plants, and animals.



2016-present. Chair, Biodiversity Committee, American Society of Mammalogists.

2017-present. Taxonomy Advisor, IUCN Small Mammal Specialist Group.


American Society of Mammalogists, ASM (2005-present): Board of Directors (elected, 2014-2017); Conservation Committee (2012-present); Mammal Biodiversity Committee (2016-present); Systematic Collections Committee (2011-present)

American Society of Naturalists (2013-present)

Society of Systematic Biologists, SSB (2009-2011, 2013, 2017-present)

Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution (2014-2015)

European Society for Evolutionary Biology (2013)

Sociedad Argentina para el Estudio de los Mamíferos, SAREM (2012-2014)

Sociedade Brasileira de Mastozoologia, SBMz (2012-2013)

Society for Conservation Biology, SCB (2012)

American Association for the Advancement of Science, AAAS (2006-2010, 2017-2020)


2021. Co-organizer and speaker for the discussion section “Leveraging AI to extend specimen networks,” iDigBio 5th Annual Conference.

2020. Co-organizer and moderator of discussion section “Avenues into integration: communicating taxonomic intelligence from sender to recipient,” TDWG 2020 Virtual Conference.

2020. Co-organizer of discussion section “Taxonomically intelligent biodiversity data: Taking stock of our progress and next steps to scale up implementation,” iDigBio 4th Annual Conference.

2019. Organizer and moderator of the discussion section “Synonyms: can we find durable solutions to name-based biodiversity data?” at the 3rd Annual Digital Data Conference (iDigBio).

2019. Co-organizer of the featured symposium "Mammal diversity from GenBank to the RedList: Challenges and rewards of integrating museum specimens in global databases of genetics, taxonomy, and spatial biodiversity" at the American Society of Mammalogists, 99th Annual Meeting; Washington, DC.

2019. Co-organizer of the workshop "Hackathon for the Mammal Diversity Database" at the American Society of Mammalogists, 99th Annual Meeting; Washington, DC.

2015. Co-organizer of the featured symposium "The Last Remaining Caribbean Mammals: Conservation Priorities and the Historical Context of Extinctions in an Island Biodiversity Hotspot" at the American Society of Mammalogists, 95th Annual Meeting; Jacksonville, FL.

2009. Organizing committee, Darwin / Chicago Symposium, University of Chicago.


Publons profile

Manuscript referee for American Naturalist (2021), American Midland Naturalist (2012), Biology Letters (2021), BioScience (2020), BMC Evolutionary Biology (2014 [x2]), CheckList (2017), Conservation Biology (2018), Current Biology (2021 [x2]), Ecology & Evolution (2020, 2021), Ethology, Ecology & Evolution (2014), Evolution (2018, 2020), Genome Biology & Evolution (2020), Global Ecology & Biogeography (2019 [x3]), Heredity (2020, 2021), Historical Biology (2017), ISME Journal (2020), Journal of Biogeography (2014, 2017 [x2]), Journal of Mammalian Evolution (2013), Journal of Mammalogy (2013, 2014 [x3], 2015, 2018, 2019 [x2], 2020 [x2], 2021), Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology (2016 [x2]), Journal of Zoology (2012), Mammalia (2017), Methods in Ecology & Evolution (2018 [x2]), Molecular Biology & Evolution (2020), Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution (2014 [x2]), Proceedings of the Royal Society B (2019, 2020 [x2]), Organismal Diversity & Evolution (2016), PLoS One (2013, 2019), Science (2021 [x2]), Systematic Biology (2020 [x2], 2021), Zootaxa (2012, 2015, 2017).

Grant referee for FONDECYT-Chile (2017), Society of Systematic Biologists (2020), Czech Science Foundation (2021).