Dr. Travis Hagey, Assistant Professor of Biology in the Department of Science and Mathematics, was awarded MUW’s first Excellence in Research Award for his research efforts at the W.

Dr. Traivs Hagey, far right, wins excellence in research award from MUW.
Dr. Hagey, at far right, at the awards ceremony after winning the MUW Excellence in Research award.

Since starting at the W in 2018, Dr. Hagey has worked closely with nine MUW biology research students, five undergraduates, and one doctoral engineering student at Mississippi State University studying the lizards that are Dr. Hagey’s main research focus. Dr. Hagey has also helped nine Honors students with their projects in a diverse range of topics related to their majors and their own fields of interest.

A student holds a preserved lizard specimen.
Jenny McCann, one of Dr. Hagey’s student researchers, holding a preserved tuatara specimen.
Students examining lizard specimens
Undergraduate research student Bailey Howell examines a preserved lizard specimen.

Since arriving at MUW, Dr. Hagey has been an author on four published research articles, all of which included undergraduate authors, with three having undergraduate first authors. He also currently has two more articles in review.

Student projects have looked at toe pad and claw shape of lizards in Puerto Rico, asking how they adapt to urbanization and hurricanes. Students have also compared the repeated evolution of toe pads across gecko lizards, compared different techniques to measure how sticky lizard toe pads are, measured how using formaldehyde to preserve lizard toe pads affected their shape, and have measured the rate of toe pad evolution in day geckos and house geckos.

Two students standing next to research posters.
Two of Dr. Hagey’s students presenting the research they did in his lab.