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With Nasikabatrachus in Agumbe, Western Ghats, India (2015). Photo: U. Smart.

Welcome to my personal homepage! :)

Umilaela Arifin, Dr.rer.nat. (PhD)


Current position

EU Researcher (Marie Curie Research Fellow)

Center for Taxonomy and Morphology (ZTM

The Museum of Nature Hamburg

Leibniz-Instute for the Analysis of Biodiversity Change



Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ), McGuire Lab

University of California Berkeley,


I am a herpetologist (by training).

I had never thought to become a scientist, especially who is studying amphibians and reptiles (herpetofauna). I didn't like them nor dare touching them. The three month herpetofaunal expedition in Sulawesi led by Prof. McGuire in 2004, which I ended up joining, has totally changed my life! This trip and many more expeditions afterward have shaped my decision after witnessing the beauty of Indonesian nature and its fascinating biodiversity through frogs and their friends. Thanks to this small living creature, I am now living my life as a scientist without regret!

Check my research page to learn about the scope of my research.

More about me?
Check out this YouTube
video and the following links :)

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My Academic Journey

UA_CENAK profil.jpg

March 2020 - now   EU Researcher

My current postdoc position is funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 program (Marie Sklodowska Curie-Individual Fellowship: Global Fellowship), hosted by the University of Hamburg, Germany (Centre of Natural History, Zoology Museum Hamburg, Haas Lab) and the University of California Berkeley, USA (Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, McGuire Lab) In this three years project  (HighThroughFROGS), I am intended to obtain degraded genomic DNA sequence data from historical museum specimens of Southeast Asian frogs to assess the phylogenetic and taxonomic position of the Asian frogs with gastromyzophorous tadpoles. 

-> Due to covid19 pandemic, my project is not running the way it was planned. However, I finally managed to go to UC Berkeley, though it will be shorter than it should be.

April 2019 - Jan 2020  Postdoctoral Researcher

I was lucky enough to get a postdoc position at the Centre of Natural History (CENAK)-Zoology Museum, University of Hamburg, Germany, right after defended my doctoral thesis. My main task under supervision of Prof. Alexander Haas was to carried out an independent research on Asian ranids with belly-sucker tadpoles  as well as to prepare my future research and to establish (and to expand) network for me and my institution.

-> During this period, I had attended at least three international conferences (III International Conference on Island Evolution, Ecology, and Conservation; IBS 2019 Humboldt-250 Meeting & 2nd Latin American Congress of Biogeography; 9th World Congress of Herpetology). Also, one paper I (and my team) wrote during this time has been published. 

Oct 2013 - Jan 2019  Doctoral Researcher

After having a break in formal education since I graduated from my Master degree in 2008, I finally went back to school. With a stipend from German Academic Exchange Program (DAAD-Indonesian German Scholarship Program) I started my doctoral degree in 2013 at the University of Hamburg, Germany (later I was granted the Merit Scholarship for International Student at the University of Hamburg to complete my study). I studied the phylogenetic systematics, diversity, and biogeography of the Sumatran ranids with gastromyzophorous tadpoles under the supervision of Prof. Alexander Haas. This study was mainly funded by the German Science Foundation (DFG Ha2323/12-1 to A. Haas).

-> I defended my thesis on 25th January 2019 and graduated with distinction. Right after this, I got the Student Scholarship to examine tadpoles at the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum Singapore and my Marie Curie Fellowship application was approved. I also got a postdoc position at the University of Hamburg, Germany (CENAK).

Aug 2006 - Oct 2008  M.Sc.

I did my Master degree in Biology Program at the School of Life Sciences and Technology, Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia. My master thesis was about the phylogenetic relationship of the frogs genus Staurois, supervised by Prof. Dr. Djoko T. Iskandar.

-> I graduated with distinction and three years afterward I published my first international scientific publication from this thesis project.

Aug 2001 - Oct 2006  B.Sc.

I did my undergraduate degree in Biology Program at the School of Life Sciences and Technology, Bandung Institute of Technology, Indonesia. My master thesis was about the morphometric study of Limnonectes frogs from Sulawesi, Indonesia, supervised by Prof. Dr. Djoko T. Iskandar.

-> I joined three months expedition on amphibian and reptiles in Sulawesi led by Prof. Dr. Jimmy McGuire from the University of California Berkeley, USA. This trip was the point where I changed my life direction (to become a scientist/herpetologist).

While crossing Alas River in Aceh province, Sumatra island, Indonesia to my field site in 2014. Photo: G. Cahyadi

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