UCL Division of Biosciences


Shakuntala Devi Gopal

Devi Gopal

I received a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Science from Fordham University in New York. During my undergraduate studies, I held a role in a couple of biodiversity related projects including one on the distribution of juvenile Horseshoe crabs alongside the NYC Audubon Society, and another on the mating behavior of Superb Birds of Paradise at the Central Park Zoo. I also worked at the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI) for 7 years as part of their Science Career Ladder. At NYSCI, I progressed from an Explainer volunteer in the Education department where I engaged visitors in interactive learning through play with our exhibitions to a Research resident in the SciPlay department where I assisted the GeniGames project assessing how incorporating elements of gaming into science curricula could help increase students' engagement, motivation to learn, and science aspirations.

I am now pursuing a Masters of Research in Biodiversity, Evolution, and Conservation Biology at UCL. Currently, I am working on a project with Matteo Fumagalli and Pascale Gerbault in the Department of Genetics, Evolution, and Environment investigating the demographic history of the Greenland polar bear (Ursus maritimus) from genomic data using a backward in time simulation approach.

Directly after my time at UCL, I will be headed to Yap as a volunteer teacher in Yap Catholic High School to devote my efforts to developing their first Biology lab program. My hope is to integrate my informal science background with my formal science present to both get a deeper understanding of my research interests and promote STEM learning.