University of montana

Division of biological sciences

Something scenicI am a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of Montana. My current research focuses on questions related to the evolution of multicellularity.
My PhD from the University of Arizona focused on evolutionary transitions in individuality (ETIs) generally, and specifically in the transition from unicellular to differentiated multicellular life in the volvocine green algae. I was co-advised by Rick Michod and Régis Ferrière. My PhD research incorporated theoretical, empirical, and comparative approaches to explore the selective pressures that may have driven this transition.

My profile on Google Scholar My profile on Academia My profile on ResearchGate


A new article on experimental evolution of multicellularity has been published at New Scientist (6/22/15).

Our NSF grant has been funded! Collaborative research: de novo evolution of multicellularity in a unicellular volvocine alga. PIs: M. Herron, A. Nedelcu (U New Brunswick), W. Ratcliff (Georgia Tech); Co-PI: F. Rosenzweig (U Montana).

Fierce Roller blog: evolution, transitions, and volvocine algae (5/12/15).

I'll be presenting the Chlamydomonas multicellularity work at AbSciCon in Chicago on June 15, 2015 (abstract).

Congratulations to Maggie Boyd, whose poster “Motility in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii” has been selected for an award in the University of Montana Conference on Undergraduate Research (UMCUR)!

A new book chapter with Aurora Nedelcu is published (Herron, M.D. & Nedelcu, A.M. 2015. Volvocine algae: from simple to complex multicellularity. pp. 129-152 in Ruiz-Trillo, I. & Nedelcu, A.M. (eds.) Evolutionary Transitions to Multicellular Life Springer, 4/13/15).

I am looking for an outstanding
lab tech to work on experimental evoluton of multicellularity using Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (2/2/15).

I am looking for a talented postdoc and graduate student (with RA support), and I will soon be advertising for a laboratory technician (12/19/14).

The NASA Astrobiology Institute CAN-7 grant (PIs: F. Rosenzweig, V. Cooper, S. Copley, P. Gerrish, G. Sherlock, E. Smith, P. Sniegowski; Co-Is: M. Herron, M. Kinnersley. S. Miller, J. McCutcheon) has been funded, with a budget for the Chlamy multicellularity project of ~$1.3 million!

I am seeking an outstanding graduate student to work on a NASA Astrobiology Institute-funded project, Evolution of complexity via multicellularity and cell differentiation in Chlamydomonas.

The artificial selection project on Pleodorina starrii has been accepted by Evolutionary Ecology Research: Herron, M. D., S. Ghimire, C. R. Vinikoor, and R. E. Michod. Fitness trade-offs and developmental constraints in the evolution of soma: an experimental study in a volvocine alga. (11/14/2014)

Just returned from the Philosophy of Science Association 24th Biennial Meeting in Chicago, where my invited talk, "Fitness and individuality in complex life cycles," was well received (11/9/2014)

My NASA Postdoctoral Program Alumni Seminar is available here (10/11/2014).

The first paper describing the new Chlamydomonas multicellularity work is out in Nature Communications, and is being reported in New Scientist, Astrobiology Magazine, the Minnesota Daily, and Bioscience Technology (11/21/2013).

The Second International Volvox Conference is coming up July 31 - August 3 in Fredericton, New Brunswick.

The new PLoS Biology article was highlighted in Nature and Nature Reviews Genetics. (3/18/2013)

An interview with my coauthor, Michael Doebeli, about our PLoS Biology article on Radio Canada International. (2/27/2013)

News articles and blog posts about the new PLoS Biology article: CBC, The Economist, PLoS Biologue, PhysOrg, Science 2.0, Scientific American.  (2/19/2013)

My public lecture at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, "Algae are way cool because...," is here. (2/18/2013)

My KITP talk, "Individuality in the 'minor' multicellular taxa," is available in several formats here. (2/16/2013)

From Jan 28 to Feb 8, I'll be in Santa Barbara at the KITP meeting "Cooperation and the Evolution of Multicellularity."

An article about research in the Rosenzweig Lab.

Volvox 2013!

Here's a video of me talking about my public lecture, "Algae are way cool," part of the Beaty Biodiversity Museum's Way Cool Biodiversity Series: