graduate students

Mahima Dixit

Master's Student


I grew up in Duarte, CA, and while I have always loved plants, I learned it could be more than a hobby during my undergraduate education. I received my Bachelors of Science in Biology from Point Loma Nazarene University in 2022. I conducted research under biology professor Dr. Dianne Anderson who became my mentor in studying plants even though it was not an official emphasis at the university. I studied the impact of seasonal changes on antibacterial properties of several plants native to the coastal sage scrub habitat in San Diego, CA (near my campus)!

Coming from a general biology background, I am excited to be in a program that focuses on plant research and conservation - I know I am going to learn a lot! I have a love for teaching that I discovered while working as a lab teaching assistant at PLNU, and I look forward to more opportunities involving educating others from public education to classroom settings.


I will be working with the widespread desert annual Eriogonum deflexum and its close relatives to determine if the trait of deflexed (upside-down) involucres and flowers evolved once and represent a synapomorphy of the group. I will also look into whether the perennials in the group form their own clade. Something intriguing about this group is that there are potentially undescribed species! My plan is to collect samples from the field and use DNA sequences to do a phylogenetic analysis. With that, I can test the current classification of the species and varietal limits and suggest improvements if needed.

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