Published: Feb. 7, 2019

PhD Student Erin ConnorCEAE Ph.D. student, Erin Connor, was recently awarded the Carol B. Lynch Graduate Fellowship, a university wide competition for Graduate Students in the Sciences, for her work on the physical transport of odor in a fluid media.

All kinds of plants and animals use the interception and interpretation of chemicals present in the environment to locate food and mates, or avoid predators among other critical daily tasks. As humans, we are familiar with this ability as our sense of smell. Odor perception involves highly complicated transport mechanisms dictated by the physics of the environment, as well as, specialized biological mechanisms.

With the help of her advisor, Professor John Crimaldi, Erin Connor studies transport mechanisms dictated by the physics of the environment along with specialized biological mechanisms involved in odor perception. Using tracer chemicals illuminated with lasers and imaging them with sensitive scientific cameras, Erin studies the physical transport of odor in fluid media. Erin then creates and analyses the data sets by collaborating with seven research groups at six different institutions. Erin’s project aims to model and analyze animal behavior and neural activity efforts that will aid in the development of robotics and decision making algorithms, in addition to advancing neuroscience and psychology.

“I am truly passionate about the work I do, and one of my favorite things about it is its beauty. The experiments we do in the lab are visually mesmerizing and scientifically fascinating."  Erin Connor said.


The Carol B. Lynch Graduate Fellowship was established by now retired Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder from 1992 to 2004, Carol B. Lynch. To honor Dr. Lynch’s dedication to graduate education, the Carol B. Lynch Graduate Fellowship was established to award $2,500 to a student at CU Boulder in the sciences whose research interests are interdisciplinary.

"I am humbled to receive the Carol B. Lynch Graduate Fellowship in honor of a distinguished female scientist at the University of Colorado. I find both the namesake and the focus of the fellowship on interdisciplinary work inspiring. I owe a great deal of gratitude to the many collaborators involved in my research project which make it possible for me participate in such a stimulating and exciting area of study. I also want to thank my advisor, John Crimaldi, and the department for nominating me for this award."