October 20, 2005
Vol. 25 No. 3

current issue
archive / search
Chronicle RSS Feed

    Conference to showcase latest research in field of evolutionary biology

    By Catherine Gianaro
    Medical Center Public Affairs


    The University will sponsor the fourth biennial conference on evolutionary developmental biology bringing together some of the biggest names in the field. The four-day symposium, “Developmental Basis of Evolutionary Change,” will be held at various locations on campus, beginning Thursday, Oct. 20 and culminating on Sunday, Oct. 23.

    In the midst of today’s ardent, popular debate surrounding evolution and intelligent design, this conference assembles world-renowned scientists of diverse intellectual interests, including basic and medical scientists, as well as scholars who examine the history of science and the philosophy of its practice.

    “Considering recent assaults on the teaching of evolutionary science to the next generation of thinkers, there is no better time to showcase leading-edge research in evolutionary biology and to reiterate that the study of biology and organismal development is inherently the study of evolution and its consequences,” said evolutionary geneticist Todd Martin, co-organizer of the conference along with developmental biologist Alex Wolf, both Chicago graduate students.

    The conference will open with keynote addresses by Peter Holland of the University of Oxford, and Naomi Pierce of Harvard University, beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 1156 E. 59th St. The keynote lectures are free and open to the public.

    Holland is the Linacre professor of zoology and the associate head of Oxford’s department of zoology. He also is a fellow of Merton College and the head of its development research group. His research interests include evolutionary developmental biology, genome evolution, homeobox genes and molecular phylogeny. His talk is titled “Exploiting Genomics in Evolutionary Developmental Biology.”

    Pierce is Harvard’s Hessel professor of biology and curator of Lepidoptera at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. She studies behavioral ecology and the evolution of species interactions by way of model genetic systems, as well as model ecological systems. Pierce will speak on the topic, “Evolution of Blue Butterflies: Pattern and Process.”

    This year’s conference also will include shorter, submitted talks from faculty, post-docs, and students on a variety of topics within developmental and evolutionary biology, such as pattern formation and morphological novelty.

    The conference is designed as a special opportunity for more junior members of the scientific community to interact with more established members in an intimate environment and to encourage scientific exchange.

    For more information about the conference, including how to register and submit abstracts, access the conference Web site at http://dbec.uchicago.edu.

    During the conference, there are four themed plenary sessions featuring nearly 30 speakers. Those themes and speakers are:

    Sensation and Sensory Networks

    • John Carlson, Yale University
    • Bernd Fritzsch, Creighton University
    • Walter Gehring, UniversitŠt Basel
    • William Jeffery, University of Maryland
    • Steve Kay, Scripps Research Institute
    • Dan-E Nilsson, Lunds Universitet
    • Richard Vogt, University of South Carolina

    History and Philosophy of Evolution and Developmental Thought

    • James Griesemer, University of California, Davis
    • Jonathan Kaplan, Oregon State University
    • Gerd Müller, Universität Wien
    • Lynn Nyhart, University of Wisconsin-Madison
    • Robert Richards, the Morris Fishbein Professor in the History of Science and Medicine and Professor in the College
    • Michael Richardson, Universiteit Leiden
    • William Wimsatt, Professor in Philosophy, Evolutionary Biology, Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science and the College.

    Ecology, Development and Evolution

    • Jessica Bolker, University of New Hampshire
    • Josh van Buskirk, University of Melbourne
    • Rachel Collin, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
    • Tom Juenger, University of Texas at Austin
    • Margaret McFall-Ngai, University of Wisconsin-Madison
    • Douglas Schemske, Michigan State University
    • Paul Turner, Yale University

    Genetic Regulation, Evolution and Development

    • Sean Carroll, University of Wisconsin-Madison
    • William Cresko, University of Oregon
    • Veronica Hinman, California Institute of Technology
    • Frederik Nijhout, Duke University
    • Patricia Simpson, University of Cambridge
    • Kevin White, Yale University
    • Gregory Wray, Duke University