EEB Ph.D. student Wei-Chin Ho was awarded a Chia-Lun Lo Fellowship of $10,000 for 2012-2013 through the U-M Rackham Graduate School.

Ho is interested in studying genotype-phenotype relationships and related evolutionary questions. He is especially interested in the evolution of robustness, wherein phenotypes remain less changed during genetic perturbation or environmental perturbation. Using different kinds of yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) traits, he is testing whether or not robustness was adaptively originated. Ho's advisor is Professor Jianzhi Zhang.

“I found that if a trait is more important to fitness, its robustness is stronger. This evidence supports robustness as being adaptive. In the future, because the metabolic networks of many other kinds of species are also available, I hope to expand my studies to other species and see if the observed phenomenon is true in other species. I also hope to find molecular-level mechanisms contributing to robustness and study the role of robustness in evolution.”

The Chia-Lun Lo Fellowship Fund was established by Jiu-Hwa Lo Upshur (AM ‘61, Ph.D. ’72), a Barbour Scholar and Professor Emerita of History at Eastern Michigan University. In 2011, Upshur established the fund in honor of her father, Chia-Lun Lo,  an important educator in modern China, a pioneer in the new culture movement, and a prolific writer who dedicated his life to education and public service. After completing his graduate studies in the U.S., Britain, France, and Germany, Lo joined the Chinese national government in 1927 as deputy director of studies in the newly established Central Party Affairs Institute (now National Chengchi University). In a long, distinguished career he was later appointed president of the National Central University (1932-1941), ambassador to India, president of the Academic Historica, among many other posts, and was elected a member of the National Assembly, representing educators. Upshur's mother, Wei-Djen Djang Lo, is a graduate of U-M and was a Barbour Scholar from 1926-27. 

The award reflects the Rackham Graduate School's very positive assessment of Ho’s future success