Addressing everyday life through evolutionary lens is topic of Buchanan Lecture

Noted biologist Dr. David P. Mindell will discuss the relevance of evolution to our everyday lives when he gives the 2006 Jean Pasakarnis Buchanan Lecture on campus next week.

“Applied Evolution: Understanding Domestication, Disease, Crime and Culture” will be the topic of his talk, scheduled for 7 p.m. April 24 in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union Theater.

Dr. David P. Mindell
Dr. David P. Mindell
Mindell is a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and curator of birds at the University of Michigan. From 2002-05, he was also director of the university’s Museum of Zoology.

He has recently written a book, The Evolving World: Evolution in Everyday Life, published this year by Harvard University Press, which discusses the many applications of evolution to our everyday lives.

Knowledge of evolution is applied in domestication of wild species for agriculture; in managing our exposure to pathogens to prevent or control epidemics; in promoting human health; in fostering the diversity of species which safeguard functional ecosystems; in the pursuit of justice within the legal system, and in promoting scientific discovery through education and research. The book seeks to show that understanding and application of evolutionary science has become indispensable in modern societies.

Mindell’s primary long-term research interest is in the evolutionary genetics and systematics of birds. His current research projects concern the phylogenetics of hawks, eagles and Old World vultures, genetic distinctiveness and conservation status of the harpy eagle and Cape Verde kite, the evolution of small genome sizes in birds and the co-evolution of birds and retroviruses. Research in his laboratory has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Peregrine Fund.

He received his Ph.D. from Brigham Young University in 1986 and was a postdoctoral fellow at Tel Aviv University in 1986 and at Harvard University in 1987-88. He is a member of the editorial boards of several international journals, including Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, BMC Evolutionary Biology, and Infection, Genetics and Evolution.

BGSU’s annual lecture series was created in 1998 through an endowment by Jean Pasakarnis Buchanan, who graduated from the University in 1952 and went on to a 33-year career as a cytologist with Massachusetts General Hospital. She also taught cytology, which is the study of human cells, at Northeastern University. Buchanan received the Alumni Community Award from BGSU in 1972, and in 1987 set up a scholarship for biology or medical technology majors. Her lectureship endowment has allowed the University to bring some of the leading figures in biology and medicine to campus each year.
April 17, 2006