Patton Award

James L. Patton Award



  • Kayce Bell
  • John R. Demboski
  • Jacob A. Esselstyn
  • Sharon A. Jansa
  • Hailey Lanier

History and Mission

The James L. Patton Award was established in 2015 to promote and support museum-based research by graduate student members of ASM.  Each year, one $5000 award will be granted to facilitate the direct use of museum specimens, including travel costs to visit collections and associated analytical or equipment costs.  The award honors Jim’s commitment to research collections and their use in understanding the diversity and evolution of mammals, his passion for mentoring young mammalogists, and his long-standing service to the society. The James L. Patton Award is a competitive fellowship.  

Both MS and PhD level students are encouraged to apply.  We particularly encourage proposals that include the direct inspection of museum collections, including both traditional and/or novel uses of specimens and their associated data. The project description should include mention of broader project objectives and the specific component for which collections use is being requested.  Applicants should also describe how their research contributes to the development of natural history collections and their associated data (e.g., field collection, curation, and digitization).

2022 James L. Patton Award Recipient

Gabriele Ilarde is a PhD candidate in the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior program at the University of Minnesota, advised by Dr. Sharon Jansa. She is broadly interested in museum collections and how they can be utilized to answer questions of mammalian systematics and morphological evolution. As an undergraduate at the University of Washington, she worked with Dr. Sharlene Santana on projects looking at the evolution of feeding morphology in phyllostomid bats. In her dissertation research, she is investigating the role of morphological integration and modularity in adaptive radiation by comparing species and morphological diversification in the Malagasy and sub-Saharan sister clades of the muroid rodent family Nesomyidae. To accomplish this, she is estimating the first species-level phylogeny of Nesomyidae from museum tissue sequences and CT–scanning cranial and limb elements from skeletal museum specimens.

Donate Now!

You can donate to the James L. Patton Award fund (and others) here.

James L. Patton Award

The application period opens 15 January with a submission deadline of 1 March at 11:59 PM (EST). Advisor letters of support are due 10 March. 


  • Students enrolled in a MS or PhD program are eligible to apply.
  • We encourage applicants of all nationalities; no restrictions are placed based on citizenship or the country in which the applicant is studying.
  • Applicants must be ASM members at the time of submission. . We encourage all applicants to become long-term, engaged members of the society.

Application Requirements:

  • Research Proposal (two page maximum, 12 pt font, 0.5" margins, single spaced. Literature Cited may be on a separate page.)
    • Within the two-page limit, each proposal must contain a Museum Collections Statement. Here, applicants are to summarize their engagement in collections-based research and describe how their proposed research will contribute to the development of natural history collections and their associated data (e.g., field collection, curation, and digitization).
  • Itemized Budget (two page maximum, including table and justification)
    • Categorize each item (e.g., Equipment, Travel, Accommodations)
    • Detail the Collections that will be used and the estimated number of specimens that will be used/examined at each collection
    • Provide estimated total cost and amount requested from the Patton Award.
    • Indicate sources of funds (e.g., Patton Award, Sigma Xi, etc.) received and pending.
  • Current CV (three page maximum)
  • One Letter of Support - This letter must be from your Research Advisor, and it is recommended they address the need for the funding.  Your advisor will be asked to submit their letter directly once you supply an email address during your application submission.
  • Previous ASM support - If you have received previous support from ASM, provide the source of  funding (e.g., GIA, African Research Fellowship ), year, proposal title, and a brief summary of progress (one page maximum).


See the grants page to submit the application. Applications are due March 1. 


  • 2016—Christopher Law, University of California, Santa Cruz. Adaptive radiation and the effects of sexual dimorphism on morphological diversification of Musteloidea.
  • 2017—Jonathan Nations, Louisiana State University. Using museum specimens to understand how extraordinary diversity is maintained in the rodent communities of Sulawesi, Indonesia.
  • 2018—Leonardo Cotts, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Osteological variability and variation in the skull and appendicular skeleton of Tamadua (Xenartha, Pilosa): investigations on ontogeny, sexual dimorphism and osteopathologies for the genus.
  • 2019—Edgardo M. Rengifo Vásquez, University of São Paulo. The role of the "Cordillera Blanca" (Ancash, Peru) in the evolutionary history of sigmodontine rodents in northern Peru.


  • 2020—Giovanni Tolentino Ramos, University of Oklahoma. Back to the Past: delimiting the effects of climate change through historical specimens.
  • 2021—Courtney Reed, Brown University. Interactive effects of predation and habitat on evolution of gerbil hindlimbs
  • 2022—Gabriele IlardeUniversity of Minnesota