Mehrdad Jahanbanifard


During my BSc and MSc study, I was fascinated by documentaries about the wildlife, planet earth, solar system, plants, and so on. I always asked myself, how can I contribute to save wildlife? Since my background is in computer science, during MSc career, I learned about bioinformatics, machine learning, and computer vision. I worked on a cognitive psychology problem and developed a novel way to discriminate between human gaze pattern depending on gender. When I graduated, I had found the answer to my question and I knew how I could contribute to save the wildlife. When saw the Plant.ID ESR15 project online, I said "that’s it"!

As a Plant.ID PhD fellow, I’m going to develop a computer vision algorithm and combine it with other methods such as DART TOF MS and Carbon-14 dating, to identify and to date the ebony wood samples that have been used in musical instruments, especially in violin and cello. In this project, I'm mostly focusing on Malagasy ebony. Since these woods are endangered, their trade after 2013 is illegal. By doing this project, I can help reseller and importers in avoiding putting illegally logged ebony woods on the market. Fingers crossed to save this brilliant species!