University of Chicago to host conference on evolutionary developmental biology

The University of Chicago 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 the university campus October 20 to 23, 2005.

In the midst of today's ardent popular debate surrounding evolution and intelligent design, this conference assembles world-renown scientists of diverse intellectual interests--including not only basic and medical scientists, but also 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, PhD, of University of Oxford, and Naomi Pierce, PhD, of Harvard University, at 7:00 p.m., Thursday, October 20, 2005, in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel (1156 E. 59th Street). 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 the 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 ones. Her talk is titled, "Evolution of Blue Butterflies: Pattern and Process."

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

Sensation and Sensory Networks

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

History and Philosophy of Evolution and Developmental Thought

James Griesemer, PhD, University of California-Davis
Jonathan Kaplan, PhD, Oregon State University
Gerd Müller, PhD, Universität Wien
Lynn Nyhart, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Robert Richards, PhD, University of Chicago
Michael Richardson, PhD, Universiteit Leiden
William Wimsatt, PhD, University of Chicago

Ecology, Development and Evolution

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

Genetic Regulation, Evolution and Development

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

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. Attendance is limited.

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Press Contact

John Easton
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john.easton@uchospitals.edu