Genetics and Evolutionary Biology Group

Genetics and Evolutionary Biology Group

The field of genetics has come to public attention in recent years as scientists have developed procedures for germ line intervention and cloning. Both scientists and the general public are aware of the massive ethical questions raised by the capacities we now have for genetic manipulation. In the United States, at least, there is also widespread public interest in the tensions that arise between the dominant theories of biological evolution (Darwinian evolution plus the science of genetics) on the one hand, and on the other religious belief in the providential guidance of history by God and in the uniqueness of the human person. The scientists in this group will focus on these and related questions.

Please note: these bios date from the time of the SSQ program. In the time since the program, some of the participants have moved institutions and some have passed away.

Dr. Yuri Altukhov
Institute of General Genetics, Russia

Dr. Altukhov was born on October 11, 1936 in the Elan'-Koleno Voronezh region of the former USSR. He studied five years at the Moscow Fishery Technological Institute at the Dept. of Physiology, then worked for the Karadag Biological Station of Ukrainian Academy of Sciences as a researcher. He received his Ph.D. from Moscow State University in 1967. Since then he has held positions as Senior Researcher of Moscow State University; Head of the Genetics Laboratory at the Institute of Marine Biology, Far East Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladivostok; Head of the Population Genetic Laboratory at the Institute of General Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow; and Academician at the Russian Academy of Sciences. His main scientific interests are population and evolutionary genetics of animal and plant species.

R. J. Berry
University College London

Sam Berry was professor of Genetics in the University of London 1974-2000, researching the ecological genetics of mice, moths, mollusks, etc. in many parts of the world (including Enewetak Atoll, Hawaii, Peru, Kerala, and many of the North Atlantic islands). He has served as President of the Linnaean Society (the oldest biological society in the world), the British Ecological Society, the European Ecological Federation, the Mammal Society, and Christians in Science. Besides scientific publications, he is the author of God and Evolution, God and the Biologist, and (with Malcolm Jeeves) Science, Life and Christian Belief, and the editor of Real Science, Real Faith and The Care of Creation. He gave the Gifford Lectures at the University of Glasgow in 1997-1998. In 1996 he was awarded the Templeton UK Prize “for long and distinguished advocacy of the Christian faith among scientists.

Dr. Anne Dambricourt Malasse
Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle

Dr. Dambricourt is a paleontologist and serves as Research Director at the CNRS, National Museum of Natural History and member of the National Advisory Board of French Universities. Her research on the evolution of Sapiens' ancestors have highlighted the existence of a process unfolding over millions of years which cannot be strictly explained by chance and natural selection. Her work is the source of vast debates and has contributed to develop a new interpretation of general evolution. She is also General Secretary of the Theilard de Chardin Foundation.

Terrence Deacon
Boston University

Terrence Deacon is Associate Professor at Boston University and a Harvard University Ph.D. He teaches courses in Biological Anthropology and in the Neurosciences at Boston University. He taught at Harvard University from 1984 to 1992, at Boston University from 1992 to present, and was a research associate at Harvard Medical School from 1992 to 1999. Professor Deacon's research focuses on the evolution of the brain. He is best known for his work on the evolution of language abilities and the human brain. His book The Symbolic Species (W.W. Norton, 1997) summarizes this research and its implications. His neurobiological research has also utilized cross-species transplantation of embryonic brain tissue to study the evolution and development of brains. This work has contributed to fetal cell and stem cell replacement treatments for brain damage. He is science advisor for IRAS and is currently completing a new book "Homunculus" about evolution and consciousness.

Michael Denton
University of Otago

Dr. Denton received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Kings College, London University. He has been a Lecturer in Biochemistry at Latrobe University, Melborne, Australia and a Senior Lecturer in Human Genetics at the University of New South Wales, Sydney Australia. He was director of the DNA Diagnostic Lab at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney from 1988-1990. His major interests are in the genetics of human retinal disease and in human evolution. He has published over 50 scientific papers in many leading international journals such as Nature, Nature Genetics, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. He has published two books, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (1986, Adler & Adler) and Nature's Destiny (1998, Free Press). He is currently a Senior Research Fellow in Human Genetics at the University of Otago in New Zealand, and is working on his third book, The Tree of Life.

Dr. Frans B. M. de Waal
Emory Unviersity

Frans B.M. de Waal (born 1948, the Netherlands) was trained as a zoologist and ethologist in the European tradition at three Dutch universities (Nijmegen, Groningen, Utrecht), resulting in a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Utrecht, in 1977. His dissertation research concerned aggressive behavior and alliance formation in macaques. In 1981, Dr. de Waal accepted a research position at the Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Center in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. He received the Los Angeles Times Book Award for Peacemaking among Primates (Harvard University Press, 1989) a popularized account of fifteen years of research on conflict resolution in nonhuman primates. Since the mid-1980s, Dr. de Waal also worked on chimpanzees at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center and their close relatives, bonobos, at the San Diego Zoo. In 1991, Dr. de Waal accepted a joint position in the Psychology Department of Emory University and at the Yerkes Regional Primate Research Center, both in Atlanta.

Lindon Eaves
Medical College of Virginia

Dr. Eaves is the Distinguished Professor of Human Genetics and Director of the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and behavioral Sciences at the Medical College of Virginia Commonwealth University. He is also an Episcopal priest. In 1997, Eaves was an Invited Lecturer at Harvard Divinity School, and he is past President of both the International Society for the Study of Twins and the Behavior Genetics Association.

Carl Feit
Yeshiva University

Dr. Feit is a noted cancer research scientist and is occupant of the Dr. Joseph and Rachel Ades Chair in Health Sciences at Yeshiva University, where he serves as Chairperson of the Science Division of Yeshiva College since 1985. Prior to that he was a research scientist at The Laboratory of Immunodiagnosis at the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research. Dr. Feit also serves on the editorial board of Cancer Investigation. He is also a Talmudic Scholar and has lectured and taught Talmud classes for many years

Dr. Ursula Goodenough
Washington University

Ursula Goodenough was born in New York City in 1943 and is currently Professor of Biology at Washington University in St. Louis MO. She has 5 children, ages 16-31. She was educated at Radcliffe and Barnard Colleges (B.A. Zoology, 1963), Columbia University (M.A. Zoology, 1965) and Harvard University (Ph.D. Biology, 1969), did 2 years of postdoctoral at Harvard, and was Assistant and Associate Professor of Biology at Harvard from 1971-1978 before moving to Washington University. Her research has focused on the cell biology and (molecular) genetics of the sexual phase of the life cycle of the unicellular eukaryotic green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and, more recently, on the evolution of the genes governing mating-related traits. She wrote 3 editions of a widely adopted textbook, Genetics, and has served in numerous capacities in national biomedical arenas. Dr. Goodenough joined the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science in 1989 and served continuously on its Council and as its president for 4 years.

Relevant Publication:
The Sacred Depths of Nature, Oxford University Press, 1998.

Martinez Hewlett
University of Arizona

Dr. Hewlett is an Associate Professor at the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Arizona in Tucson. He has been awarded research grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Kroc Foundation. Hewlett is a founding member of the St. Albert the Great Forum on Theology and the Sciences. His interests in science and theology led to his first novel, Divine Blood, to be published by Ballantine Books in July 1998.

Kenneth Kendler
Virginia Commonwealth University

Dr. Kendler is the Rachel Brown Banks Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Professor of Human Genetics at the Medical College of Virginia, and Director of the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has published more than 230 articles and several book chapters and has received the Lieber Prize for outstanding research in schizophrenia as well as the Dean Award for 1998 from the American College of Psychiatrists in recognition of his major contributions to the understanding of schizophrenic disorders.

Shaikh Abdul Mabud
The Islamic Academy

Dr. Mabud was born in Bangladesh and received his Ph.D. in physics from Cambridge University in 1978. He currently the Director General of the Islamic Academy, a research-oriented international organisation established in Cambridge in 1983 in order to make religious values as derived from Islam the basis of education. He has worked with the Islamic Academy since its inception, and has participated in many international seminars and conferences and lectured on Islam, science and education in different countries in the Middle East, Europe, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, UK and USA. Dr. Mabud is an author of two books and many papers on education. He delivered the Cambridge University Alumni Lecture in 1998 on "Islam and the West" and as the Director General of the Islamic Academy he has organised over a dozen seminars jointly with the University of Cambridge on various educational issues. He is also the principal organiser of the "Syed Ali Ashraf Memorial Lecture" that takes place annually in England, Bangladesh and Trinidad. He is the Director of a major research project on curriculum and textbooks at the primary and secondary levels in Bangladesh.

Harold Morowitz
George Mason University

Biophysicist Harold Morowitz became the Clarence J. Robinson Professor of Biology and Natural Philosophy at George Mason University after teaching at Yale University as Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and serving for five years as Master of Pierson College. The author of several books, Morowitz has written extensively on the thermodynamics of living systems, as well as on popular topics in science. Included in those publications are Mayonnaise and the Origins of Life, Cosmic Joy and Local Pain, The Thermodynamics of Pizza, and, in 1993, Entropy and the Magic Flute. In his current research, Morowitz is investigating the interface of biology and information sciences and continues his exploration of the origins of life. His books published in 1992 are The Origin of Cellular Life: Metabolism Recapitulates Biogenesis and The Facts of Life (co-authored with James Trefil). He is Staff Scientist and former Director of the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study and Editor-in-Chief of the journal Complexity.

Thomas R. Odhiambo
African Academy of Sciences

Professor Thomas R. Odhiambo, an entomologist by training, is one of the world's leading scientists and a pioneer in establishing Africa's indigenous scientific capacity. As founding director of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), his research focused on developing sustainable solutions to the pressing need for increased food production and improved health in rural communities. In 1985, Professor Odhiambo's efforts to develop and promote scientific expertise among Africans led to the establishment of the African Academy of Sciences. As its first president until 1999 and now Honorary President, he is working to achieve its objectives, which include: identifying outstanding scientific talent within the continent; promoting the utilization of this talent in national development; and advancing the partnership between scientific and political leaders in building Africa's future. In addition, he served as founding vice president of the Third World Academy of Sciences until 1999, founding president of the Association of African Science Editors until 1995 and founding president of the Kenya National Academy of Sciences until 1994. The author of more than 130 papers and monographs, Professor Odhiambo has also written six children's books designed to educate, inspire and entertain the children of Africa.

Ayub Ommaya
George Washington University Medical Center

Dr. Ommaya is Professor of Neurosurgery at The George Washington University Medical Center and Director of the Center for Brain Research in Bethesda, MD. He is also Vice President and Director of Research at CYBORGAN in Bethesda. He is a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award, International College of Surgeons, and holds several US Patents on medical equipment.

The Revd Canon Dr. Arthur Peacocke, MBE, D.D., D. Sc.
Exeter College, Oxford

For over 25 years Arthur Peacocke taught and did research on biological macromolecules (especially DNA) in the Universities of Birmingham and Oxford, where he was a Fellow of St. Peters' College. In 1971 he took Anglican orders and in 1972 became Dean of Clare College, Cambridge, where he worked on the interaction between theology and science. He has been a Bampton and a Gifford Lecturer and until recently was Director of the Ian Ramsey Centre (IRC), Oxford, for the study of religion in relation to the sciences. He is Warden-Emeritus of the Society of Ordained Scientists (SOSc.) and a Hon. Canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford. In 2001 he was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion for his contributions to the study of the relation of the sciences to religion and for his initiating the IRC, SOSc and UK and European societies in that field.

Pauline Rudd
University of Oxford

Dr. Rudd is a Senior Research Fellow working at the Glycobiology Institute in the Department of Biochemistry in the University of Oxford. Her research deals with problems associated with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and hepatitis B. Pauline is also an associate of the Community of St Mary the Virgin in Wantage, Oxfordshire, and feels it is essential to integrate insights from the fields of science and religion in order to achieve maturity in either.

Dr. Lothar Schäfer
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Dr. Schäfer was born in West Germany and received his doctorate in Chemistry from the University of Munich in 1965. After postdoctoral work at the University of Oslo and research at Indiana University, Bloomington, he accepted a position at the University of Arkansas in 1968. He has held the E. Wertheim Distinguished Professorship at that institution since 1989. Dr. Schäfer's research interests include Physical Chemistry, Applied Quantum Chemistry, and Computational Chemistry. He is the author of In Search of Divine Reality—Science as a Source of Inspiration, University of Arkansas Press, 1997.