Dr. Jerry Coyne is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago. His work is focused on the origin of species and on understanding this process through the genetic patterns it produces. While he is the author (with H. Allen Orr) of "Speciation" and is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications, Dr. Coyne's direct impact (or notoriety) in society is heavily weighted toward his non-reviewed and lay-oriented articles, commentaries, and book reviews addressing the non science-based phenomena of "creationism" and "intelligent design".
Dr. Coyne earned a B.S.(summa cum laude) in Biology from The College of William and Mary where he also served as valedictorian of the Class of 1971 and became a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He was National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellow from 1973–1976 prior to attaining a Ph.D. in Biology from Harvard University. Coyne undertook an NIH postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Genetics at the University of California, Davis during 1979–1982. Dr. Coyne was a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellow in 1989 and received an Award of Excellence and Meritorious Service from the Illinois Public Defender Association, 1993 (for forensic DNA work).
Dr. Coyne was an assistant professor and subsequently associate professor in the Department of Zoology of the University of Maryland during 1982–1986. He worked as an associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago during 1986–1991 and has served as Professor from 1991 to the present. Coyne has served as Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Paris-Sud, Orsay, France in 1994 and at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (University of Paris VI) in 1998. He was a Visiting Professor at the Centre National del la Recherge Scientifique, Université de Bourgogne, Dijon, France in 2005–2006.
Dr. Stephen J. Freeland is an evolutionary biologist who studies the origin and evolution of the genetic code, the interface by which genes are processed into living organisms.
Rather than treating the code as a baseline assumption of molecular biology, Dr. Freeland's laboratory recognizes it as a complex product of evolution with many interesting properties. He views the code as a product of natural selection, as sophisticated in structure as a wing or an eye. His group's research explores the nature, cause and effect of this adaptation and its role in steering the early evolution of life on earth.
Dr. Freeland earned a B.A. in Zoology from Oxford University and an M.Sc. in Biology and Computer Science from the University of York. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular Evolution by Cambridge University. Freeland was a post-doctoral fellow in Molecular Evolution at Princeton University 1999–2001.
Dr. Freeland has served as an Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County since August 2001. Formerly, he was Lecturer in Evolutionary Ecology, a Long-Term Fellow of the Human Frontiers Science Program, and a Visiting Fellow in Discrete Mathematics and Theoretical Computer Science, in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University.
Dr. Thomas Griffiths has served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley since July 2006. Griffiths studies the problems of induction that people face in everyday life (such as probabilistic reasoning, learning causal relationships, acquiring and using language) which require inferences from limited data. He analyzes these aspects of human cognition by comparing human behavior to optimal or "rational" solutions to the underlying computational problems.
Dr. Griffiths earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Western Australia and an M.A. in Psychology and M.S. in Statistics from Stanford University. Subsequent to completing Master's degrees, he performed a climate change and worked as an Exchange scholar in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Department and Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 2002–2004. He was awarded a Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University in 2005. Griffiths was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences at Brown University from January 2005 until July 2006.
In addition to authoring numerous papers, book chapters, and other professional publications, Dr. Griffith is a frequent speaker, is a consulting editor for Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, and an ad hoc reviewer for many publications and conferences, among them Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science, Cognitive Science, Cognition, the Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, the International Conference on Machine Learning, and the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the first artificial intelligence conference IEEE Intelligent Systems magazine honored Tom Griffiths among its "AI Ten to Watch" award list.
Dr. Griffiths' research has been covered in The Economist, New Scientist, The New York Times Magazine, and Psychology Today, and may have "jumped the shark" with its mention in Cosmopolitan. His work has been discussed on National Public Radio, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Radio One, and the television program Criminal Minds, as well as a variety of science blogs. Griffiths has been profiled in IEEE Intelligent Systems Magazine.
When people ask what Dr. Tania Lombrozo studies, she says "explanation", which is clearly an answer that requires explanation. A new area of study in cognitive psychology, the motivation for studying explanation comes from the potential to learn about other areas of cognition. Explanation is at the core of basic cognitive processes like learning, inference, and categorization. Investigating these basic aspects of cognition involves the marriage of experimental methods from psychology with the conceptual analysis of analytic philosophy. Accordingly, much of Dr. Lombrozo's work is informed by philosophy of science, epistemology, and moral philosophy. She also studies the structure of conceptual knowledge and how it changes through time, particularly the parallel between scientific development within communities and conceptual change within individuals.
Dr. Lombrozo earned a B.A. in Philosophy and a B.S. in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard University. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Among her honors and recognitions are a National Science Foundation fellowship and a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship. Lombrozo has been honored for excellence in teaching with Harvard's George W. Goethals Teaching Prize and a Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, and for academic excellence and service with the Philip R. Rhinelander Prize while at Stanford. In addition to her ongoing professional publication and speaking, Dr. Lombrozo created and manages a listserv on the philosophy and psychology of explanation, www.philpsych.com.
Dr. Richard Michod is Professor and Department Head of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Arizona. Dr. Michod is interested in the evolutionary process, especially the evolution of interactions within populations. His perspective on the topic includes: "Evolution occurs not only through mutational change in populations but also during evolutionary transitions in individuality, when groups become so integrated that they evolve into new higher-level individuals."
Dr. Michod's main focus is on cooperative interactions and conflict. Specific topics include the evolution of sex, origin of individuality, origin of life, and the evolution of social behavior.
Steve Mirsky has been an editor at Scientific American magazine for 10 years. Mirsky's personal evolutionary path encompasses a degree from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, acting in summer stock, a bachelors' degree from City University of New York, hosting a morning radio show and a masters' degree in chemistry from Cornell University. Mirsky left chemistry (to the relief of the American Chemical Society) for journalism after receiving an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Mass Media Fellowship in 1985, which he spent at the NBC TV affiliate in Miami. Other academic fellowships include two stints (general, 1993, and molecular evolution, 2001) at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, a Reuters Foundation Fellowship in Medical Journalism at Columbia University in 1997 and the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT for the 2003–2004 academic year (during which he also attended a semester of criminal law with Alan Dershowitz at Harvard Law School).
Dr. Mohamed A.F. Noor, Professor and Associate Chair of the Duke University Department of Biology, tells us that one of the greatest unsolved questions in biology is how continuous processes of evolutionary change produce the discontinuous groups known as species. In addition to the obvious historical perspective this question seeks, with the continued loss of species worldwide from human activities work arising from this question will become increasingly important in identifying the processes that generate and maintain biodiversity on the planet.
Dr. Noor has focused on understanding the processes that cause the evolution of barriers to gene exchange between diverging species, particularly hybrid sterility and species mating discrimination. The proposed work has strong evolutionary and medical implications. Understanding the nature of genetic interactions causing sterility gives direct insights into what makes one species different from another, and hence, can explain the process of the origin of new species. In addition, insights on genetic interactions causing sterility can help identify other genes whose disruptions in humans may cause infertility.
Dr. Noor earned a B.S. in Biology from the College of William and Mary, 1992 and a Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolution from the University of Chicago in 1996. He was a postdoctoral resident in Genetics & Development at Cornell University from 1996–1998. He served on the faculty at Louisiana State University from 1998 to 2005 and received a College of Basic Sciences Research Award, an LSU Phi Kappa Phi Untenured Faculty Award in Natural and Physical Sciences, and a Louisiana State University, College of Basic Sciences Undergraduate Teaching Award. Dr. Noor won the 2007 Gordon G. Hammes Faculty Teaching Award and a 2010 Dean’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring from Duke University, and in 2008, he was one of 13 evolutionary biologists to be honored with the Darwin Wallace Medal — an award given by the Linnean Society of London only once every 50 years!
Dr. Noor is currently on the editorial boards of PLoS Biology, the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, and BMC Evolutionary Biology. He serves as chair of the Genetic Variation and Evolution grant review panel at the National Institutes of Health and is an elected Council member for both the Society for the Study of Evolution and the American Genetics Association. Noor was editor of Evolution 2006–2007 and associate editor of Evolution 2001–2005.
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