I am an ethnobotanist and plant ecologist. I earned my B. Sc. in Zoology at Cochin College, an M. Sc. in Wildlife Science at the Wildlife Institute of India and my Ph.D. in Plant Biology at Ohio University. Before arriving at St. Lawrence, I was an ecologist with Development Alternatives, an organization that that works on sustainable development in India, and then was a teaching assistant at Ohio University. Courses I regularly teach include General Biology, Ethnobotany, Tropical Ecology, Medicinal Plant Ecology, and Forest Ecology of Asia. I have conducted fieldwork in India, Nepal, North America and Borneo. My research lies at the intersection of ethnobotany and ecology and encompasses both North America and Asia. I am interested in the ecology of economically important plant species (especially medicinal plants) both in the wild and in agroecosystems. I usually have 2 – 4 students conducting research with me in my lab every semester. I am also a member of the Asian Studies and Native American Studies programs at SLU.
Aswini Pai (Associate Professor of Biology) will use this fellowship to create a digital compendium of herbarium specimens by making the activity a part of her classes, which include courses on Ethnobotany, Introductory Botany, and the World of Plants for both majors and non-majors. Through this project, she hopes to facilitate not only learning about plant anatomy and morphology, but also how humans interact with plants, using them for agriculture, medicine, and material culture.