Skip to main content


Sumanth Manohar, Biology Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Receives the 2023-2024 Knights Templar Eye Foundation’s Career Starter Research Grant

The Knights Templar Eye Foundation is dedicated to funding research into the prevention and treatment of sight threatening diseases in children. Each year, the foundation invites proposals for funding of research related to pediatric ocular disorders. Dr. Sumanth Manohar, a postdoctoral research scholar working in the lab of Dr. Ann Morris in UK’s Department of Biology, was one of 25 scientists selected to receive this funding in 2023-2024. 

601 Seminar | "Long-distance Relationships in the Control of Gene Regulation During Development, Disease, and Evolution"

SelfieDr. Francois Spitz | Spitz Lab

PhD from Université Paris 6 (France)
Group Leader at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (2006-2015) (Heidelberg, Germany)
Head of Research Unit at the Institut Pasteur (2015-2019) (Paris, France)
Professor, The University of Chicago (2019-.)

The mechanisms that regulate the efficiency and specificity of interactions between distant genes and cis-regulatory elements such as enhancers play a central role in shaping the specific regulatory programs that control cell fate and identity. In particular, the (epi)genetic elements that organize the 3D folding of the genome in specific loops and domains have emerged as key determinants of this process. I will discuss our current views on how 3D genome architecture is organized, how it influences gene regulatory interactions and illustrate how alterations of the mechanisms and elements that organize genomes in 3D could contribute to genomic disorders and genome evolution.

THM 116
Type of Event (for grouping events):

Thomas Hunt Morgan Annual Lecture 2023: "African Integrative Genomics: Implications for Health and Disease"

Selfie Dr. Sarah Tishkoff | Tishkoff Lab


Sarah Tishkoff is the David and Lyn Silfen University Professor in Genetics and Biology at the University of Pennsylvania, holding appointments in the School of Medicine and the School of Arts and Sciences. She is also Director of the Penn Center for Global Genomics and Health Equity.

Dr. Tishkoff studies genomic and phenotypic variation in ethnically diverse Africans. Her research combines field work, laboratory research, and computational methods to examine African population history and how genetic variation can affect a wide range of traits – for example, why humans have different susceptibility to disease, how they metabolize drugs, and how they adapt through evolution.

Dr. Tishkoff is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of an NIH Pioneer Award, a David and Lucile Packard Career Award, a Burroughs/Wellcome Fund Career Award, an ASHG Curt Stern award, and a Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) endowed chair. She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Panel for the Packard Fellowships for Science and Engineering and the Board of Global Health at the National Academy of Sciences and is on the editorial boards at PLOS GeneticsGenome Research; G3 (Genes, Genomes, and Genetics);Cell.

Her research is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Institute, and the American Diabetes Association.


THM 116

"The Promise and Practice of Inclusive Education"

SelfieDr. Bryan Dewsbury | Dewsbury Lab

Bryan Dewsbury is an Associate Professor of Biology at Florida International University where he also is an Associate Director of the STEM Transformation Institute. He received is Bachelors degree in Biology from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA, and his Masters and PhD in Biology from Florida International University in Miami, FL. He is the Principal Investigator of the Science Education And Society (SEAS) program, where his team conducts research on the social context of education. He is a Fellow of the John N. Gardner Institute and a Director at RIOS (Racially-Just Inclusive Open Science) institute. He conducts faculty development and support for institutions interested in transforming their educational practices pertaining to creating inclusive environments and, in this regard, has worked with over 100 institutions across North America, United Kingdom and West Africa. He is a co-author of the book 'Norton's Guide to Equity-Minded Teaching', available for free as an E-book. He is the founder of the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Deep Teaching Residency, a national workshop aimed at supporting faculty in transforming their classroom to more meaningfully incorporate inclusive practices. He is the creator of the MOOC called 'Inclusive Teaching' sponsored by HHMI Biointeractive which will be released on August 15th. Bryan is originally from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and proudly still calls the twin island republic home.

Education holds the promise of preparing students to be engaged, thriving participants in a socially just democracy. For that ideal to occur, the structure and experience of the classroom must reflect both its constituents and consider the socially just imaginaries in which we would all like to inhabit. Using examples from the civil rights era's interrogation of our society, we will explore how an introductory biology course can help fulfill higher
education's civic mission.

Check out his book here!

Check out his HHMI/Inclusive Teaching trailer here!

Watch the seminar here!

THM 116

"Mountains as Biodiversity Hotspots through Time: Integrating Fossils with Tectonics and Climate"

SelfieDr. Tara Smiley | Smiley Lab

I am an evolutionary ecologist interested in how climate and landscape history shape the
diversity, biogeography, and ecological structure of mammalian faunas across spatio-temporal
scales. I test hypotheses about how changes in climate, tectonic activity, topographic
complexity, and habitat heterogeneity impact communities and ecological processes at local
scales and govern diversity at regional scales. To do so, I use the fossil record to investigate
diversity patterns, macroevolutionary processes, and paleoecology, focusing on the history of
small mammals during the Cenozoic. My work on the past is conducted in parallel with
investigations of modern and historical small-mammal populations across broad climatic and
environmental gradients today.

My research group integrates fieldwork, specimen-based research, and quantitative
paleobiology. Primary tools of our research include stable isotope ecology and
paleoenvironmental reconstruction, analysis of trait variation, diversification analysis, and
coupling of geological and biological modeling approaches. We work in western North
America and in the East African Rift, both tectonically active and dynamic landscapes with
high species richness today and in the past. 

Mountains across the globe are biodiversity hotspots for many different groups of plants and animals; however, the deep-time relationship between mountain building and biodiversity remains elusive and requires integration across disciplines in geosciences, paleontology, and biology. When and how did these hotspots form? What role do landscape and climate dynamics play in eco-evolutionary processes? Using modern and fossil records, as well as empirical and quantitative approaches, my research program investigates how the biodiversity of mammals has been influenced by tectonic and climate interactions that shape mountain landscapes and generate topographic and climatic gradients. In this presentation, I will focus on the diversification history and faunal structure of mammals in the Basin and Range Province of western North America across the Neogene, highlighting the role of tectonic extension and global warming during the Miocene Climate Optimum (17-14 million years ago) at multiple spatial scales. I will also share new research from coupled landscape-biotic evolution models to understand how tectonic uplift may both generate and preserve evidence of montane biodiversity hotspots in the fossil record.


Watch the seminar here!

THM 116
Subscribe to biology