Emory University

A public symposium at Emory University

Thursday, October 23 and Friday, October 24, 2008

Speaker Biographies

Guest Speakers

E. O. WilsonE. O. Wilson is Pellegrino University Research Professor Emeritus at Harvard University and one of the world’s great living scientists. He received his BS and MA from the University of Alabama and his PhD in biology from Harvard University. Wilson is the author of more than 20 leading books, two of which—On Human Nature and The Ants (with Bert Hölldobler) —won Pulitzer Prizes. He has discovered hundreds of new species and is often called “the father of biodiversity.” Wilson has won many scientific awards, including the National Medal of Science and the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. His most recent book is The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth. (Photo by Joe D. Pratt.)

Olivia JudsonOlivia Judson is an evolutionary biologist and one of the preeminent science writers of our time. She received her PhD in biological sciences from Oxford University before joining the staff of the Economist, where she wrote about biology and medicine. After leaving the Economist, she has written for a wide variety of other publications, including Nature, the Guardian, the Financial Times, and the Atlantic. She currently writes a weekly online column for the New York Times on matters evolutionary. She is the author of Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation: The Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex, which has been translated into fifteen languages and also was made into a three-part television series. A research fellow at Imperial College, London, Judson is working on her second book.

Emory and Georgia Tech Speakers

Nicholas V. HudNicholas V. Hud is professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Georgia Institute of Technology. He received his BS from Loyola Marymount University and his PhD from the University of California–Davis. The research in his laboratory is directed toward understanding the physical and chemical factors that control the structure, folding, and assembly of nucleic acids (i.e., DNA and RNA). In 2000 he proposed the “molecular midwife” hypothesis, which may explain the evolutionary origin of Watson-Crick base pairs in DNA and RNA. Hud currently serves as principal investigator of the National Science Foundations Chemical Bonding Center “Origins Project” and is a member of the Georgia Tech-Emory University Center for Fundamental and Applied Molecular Evolution.

Michelle LamplMichelle Lampl is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology at Emory University, associate director of Emory’s Strategic Initiative in Predictive Health and Society, and has served as adjunct faculty, Department of Pediatrics, Emory School of Medicine. She received a PhD in anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania and an MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Building on her landmark research establishing the saltatory nature of human growth, she investigates the mechanisms of growth and influencing factors, both genetic and environmental. Her current research is focused on fetal and infant growth and development, as well as the nutritional, immunological, and hormonal networks that interact with behavior to influence the growth process.

David LynnDavid Lynn is Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Chemistry and Biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor at Emory University. He received his AB from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill and his PhD in organic and biological chemistry from Duke University. Lynn and his lab colleagues work to understand the structures and forces that enable supramolecular self-assembly—how chemical information can be stored and translated into new molecular entities, and how the forces of evolution can be harnessed in new structures with new function. Such knowledge offers tremendous promise in fields as diverse as drug design and genome engineering, pathogenesis and genome evolution, functional nanoscale materials, and the origins of living systems.

Ichiro MatsumuraIchiro Matsumura is associate professor of biochemistry at Emory University School of Medicine. He received his BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his PhD in biochemistry from the University of California–Berkeley. He studies adaptive molecular evolution, which underpinned the diversification of the last universal common ancestor into the species of the contemporary biosphere. He and his students direct the evolution of proteins in the laboratory and connect changes in molecular structure with improvements in fitness. These experiments provide insight into the mechanisms of adaptation and create proteins with industrial, medical, or environmental utility.

Todd PreussTodd Preuss is associate research professor, Division of Neuroscience at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and associate professor of pathology at Emory University School of Medicine. He received his BA in psychology from Haverford College and his PhD in biological anthropology from Yale University. Preuss’s laboratory carries out fundamental research on the structure and evolution of the mammalian cerebral cortex, using comparative studies of humans, chimpanzees, and other primates to identify human specializations. His laboratory identified the first known specialization of the neuronal organization in the human brain and has pioneered studies of human specializations of gene expression in the brain. Preuss is a three-time Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences. The work of the Preuss laboratory was the subject of a March 2007 feature story in the journal Science.

Leslie RealLeslie Real is Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Biology at Emory College. He received his BA from Indiana University and his PhD from the University of Michigan. Real’s research looks at the experimental and mathematical analysis of animal cognition, learning, and memory and their relationship to ecological performance and problem solving. He is also an expert in the pollination and floral ecology of plants in tropical and temperate forests. Real studies the ecological dynamics and the molecular evolution of numerous diseases, including Ebola, rabies, and malaria. His research is helping to develop ways to identify early outbreaks of diseases and to identify best methods for their control.

Frans B. M. de WaalFrans B. M. de Waal is Charles Howard Candler Professor in the Department of Psychology of Emory University and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Center in Atlanta, Georgia. He received his PhD in biology and zoology at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. He is renowned for his work on the social intelligence of primates. His research examines parallels between primate and human behavior, from peacemaking and morality to culture. His scientific work has been published in hundreds of technical articles in journals such as Science, Nature, Scientific American, and publications that specialize in animal behavior. De Waal is also editor or coeditor of nine scientific volumes. His popular books have made him one of the world’s most visible primatologists. His latest books are Our Inner Ape and Primates and Philosophers. He has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (U.S.), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. Time magazine selected him in 2007 as one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People.

Carol M. WorthmanCarol M. Worthman holds the Samuel Candler Dobbs Chair in the Department of Anthropology at Emory University and also directs Emory’s Laboratory for Comparative Human Biology. After taking dual undergraduate degrees in biology and botany at Pomona College, Worthman received her PhD in biological anthropology at Harvard University. She takes a biocultural approach to comparative interdisciplinary research on human development, reproductive ecology, and biocultural bases of differential mental and physical health. Worthman has conducted cross-cultural ethnographic and biosocial research in ten countries, including Kenya, Tibet, Nepal, Egypt, Japan, and Papua New Guinea, as well as the United States. Recent work includes integrated qualitative and quantitative methods to probe the role of cultural models of the life course in pathways to differential youth development and well-being.