Laura L Dev
PhD Student • Society & Environment
University of California, Berkeley
Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management


My academic background is in plant ecology, forest ecosystems and mathematical modeling, and I have years of experience and a passion for children’s environmental and outdoor education. Although my Master’s degree is in plant community ecology, I have now shifted my focus for my PhD toward the intersection of political ecology, ethnobotany, and ecophilosophy. I am studying relationships between humans and other-than-humans through indigenous ways of knowing & healing practices in the Peruvian Amazon, and how these knowledges and practices are in tension with logging and tourism. I have the greater goals of helping myself and others achieve deeper connection with the earth through understanding ourselves as a part it; as well as to ally myself in the struggle for indigenous rights and empowerment through collaboration, ritual, dialogue, and learning.


In progress Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, CA
Environmental Science, Policy & Management
Society & Environment Division
Advisor: Carolyn Merchant

2012 M.S. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Graduate Degree Program in Ecology
Advisors: Julia Klein, Cynthia S. Brown

2006 B.S. Tufts University, Medford, MA
Biology and Mathematics, magna cum laude


2012 – Now: Dissertation Research at UC Berkeley
Plants, Pathways and Poiesis: Shipibo healing rituals recontextualized in shifting landscapes

2009 – 2012: Thesis Research at Colorado State University
Global change ecology: The effects of precipitation seasonality and grazing on plant community structure and function.

2011: NSF East Asia & Pacific Summer Institute, Nam Tso Tibet
Plant community ecology: Trait based study conducted at a global change experiment on the Tibetan Plateau investigating how the timing of water availability and grazing interact to affect community-level plant traits associated with grazing avoidance or tolerance.

2010 – 2011: Research Assistant, Shortgrass Steppe LTER, CO
Maintain a site that is part of the Nutrient Network, a global network of grassland sites investigating the role of nutrients and herbivory in structuring grassland systems

2004: NSF REU in Mathematical Biology, Iowa State University
Created a mathematical model of the onset of tumor angiogenesis based on three negative feedback inhibition systems.

2003-2004: Research Assistant, Tufts University Math Department
Developed methods for measuring accuracy of various image reconstruction techniques based on MRI data for use in tumor imaging.


2015 Summer Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship
2014 James Duke Ethnobotanical Fellowship
2012 Berkeley Graduate Fellowship
2011 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
2011 NSF East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute
2004 NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)


2014 – 2017    Alianza Arkana, NGO, Pucallpa, Peru
Research Coordinator/Researcher

2011 – 2012: Front Range Student Ecology Symposium
Secretary, Organizing Committee

2010 – 2011: Front Range Student Ecology Symposium 
Chair, Outreach and Advertising Committee

2009 – 2010: Front Range Student Ecology Symposium 
Outreach and advertising Committee


2018 (In Press) Dev, L. Plant Knowledges: Indigenous Approaches and Multispecies Listening Toward Decolonizing Ayahuasca Research,” in Plant Medicines, Healing, and Psychedelic Science. Edited by Bia Labate and Clancy Cavnar, Springer.


2017 Dev, L. “The Role of Plants in Knowledge Production: Collaborators or Objects of Study.” Oral Presentation, Psychedelic Science Conference, Oakland, CA

2016 Dev, L. “Shipibo healing rituals recontextualized in changing ecological, economic, and social contexts.” Oral Presentation, ENTiTLE – European Network of Political Ecology Meeting, Stockholm, Sweden 

2016 Dev, L. “Healing as an Ecology of Selves: Ritual as resistance, research as ritual.” Invited Talk, Ecology and Religion Summit, San Francisco, CA.

2012 Dev, L., Blumenthal, D., Brown, C., Hobbs, N.T., and J. Klein. “The seasonal timing of precipitation and temperature mediate rangeland vegetation response to grazing.” Poster Presentation, Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, MN

2011 Dev, L., Klein, J., Blumenthal, D., and C. Brown. “Does the seasonal timing of precipitation influence grassland sensitivity to grazing?” Oral Presentation, Front Range Student Ecology Symposium, Colorado State University.

2010 Dev, L., Klein, J., Blumenthal, D. and C. Brown. “Global change and grazing in North American grasslands: A regional study across precipitation regimes using field experiments and modeling.” Poster Presentation, Front Range Student Ecology Symposium, Colorado State University.

2004 Dev, L.,Lapan, S. and H. Levine. “Modeling Cancer Mathematically”. Oral Presentation, Young Mathematicians Conference, Ohio State University.

2004 Dev, L., Lapan, S. and H. Levine. “Modeling Cancer Mathematically”. Poster Presentation. Program for Women in Science and Engineering, Iowa State University


2015 & 2016 Guest Lecture: Environmental Ethics, for GEOG 137: Top Ten Global Environmental Problems, UC Berkeley
Guest Lecturer

2011 Systems Ecology (grad course), Colorado State University
Teaching Assistant

2009 – 2012 Biology Department, Colorado State University
Laboratory Teaching Assistant

2008 – 2009 Great Basin Outdoor School, Lake Tahoe, NV
Naturalist/Outdoor Educator

2006 – 2009 Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Kirkwood, CA
Level 1 Certified Ski School Instructor

2006 Coyote Point Museum, San Mateo, CA
Environmental Educator

2004 Tufts Biology Department, Medford, MA
Laboratory Teaching Assistant


2009 USDA ARS, Rangeland Resource Research, Fort Collins, CO
Biological Sciences Technician

2007 California Tahoe Conservancy, South Lake Tahoe, CA
Ecological Restoration Technician


Foreign Language: Proficient in Spanish and conversational in Mandarin Chinese. Beginning Shipibo language learner.

Math: Experienced with theoretical and Bayesian modeling in Matlab and R.

Arts: Enthusiastic about photography, dance, and creative writing.