Sean B. Carroll, vice president for science education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), will deliver a public lecture titled “Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species” at HHMI’s Janelia Farm Research Campus in Ashburn, VA.
The lecture is the eighth in a series called “Dialogues of Discovery at Janelia Farm.” Past speakers in the series have included Thomas R. Cech, former president of HHMI and an HHMI investigator at the University of Colorado, Boulder; Roian Egnor, a fellow at Janelia Farm; Ronald M. Evans, an HHMI investigator at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies; Timothy Harris, director of the Applied Physics and Instrumentation Group at Janelia Farm; Gerald M. Rubin, HHMI vice president and executive director of Janelia Farm; Huda Y. Zoghbi, an HHMI investigator at Baylor College of Medicine; and Charles S. Zuker, an HHMI investigator at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and a senior fellow at the Janelia Farm Research Campus.
Carroll, a noted chronicler of Charles Darwin’s scientific legacy, has spent his career studying the genetic underpinnings of evolution and development, identifying the molecular mechanisms that lead to new traits and species. His “Dialogues of Discovery” lecture will detail the search for the origins of species and describe some of great adventures that have occurred in that quest over the last 200 years. Carroll will chronicle the exploits of a group of explorers who walked where no one had walked, saw what no one had seen, and thought what no one else had thought. “Their achievements sparked a revolution that changed, profoundly and forever, our perception of the living world and our place within it,” Carroll said.
Carroll, who has been an HHMI investigator at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1990, is an internationally recognized evolutionary biologist. His research focuses on the way new animal forms have evolved. His studies of a wide variety of animal species are revealing how changes in the genes that control animal development shape the evolution of body parts and body patterns. Carroll is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In addition, Carroll is the author of several books, including Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species, which was a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award in nonfiction. He writes a column (also called "Remarkable Creatures") for the science section of The New York Times and has served as a consulting producer for the public television program NOVA. In March 2010, Carroll received the 2010 Stephen Jay Gould Prize, in recognition of his efforts to advance public understanding of evolutionary science.
Carroll is also recognized as an exemplary educator. In 2009, he received the Viktor Hamburger Outstanding Educator Prize from the Society for Developmental Biology. He is also a recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Biology Teachers. Along with David Kingsley, a fellow HHMI investigator, Carroll delivered the Institute's 2005 Holiday Lectures on Science, "Evolution: Constant Change and Common Threads."
He graduated summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis and earned a Ph.D. in immunology from Tufts University. After postdoctoral study at the University of Colorado at Boulder, he joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1987. In 2009 he was named the Allan Wilson Professor of Molecular Biology, Genetics, and Medical Genetics.