Baylor's Honors College Hosts Noted Texas Biologist and Baylor Grad

Sept. 16, 2009

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WACO, Texas -Dr. David Hillis, a 1980 Baylor University graduate and The Alfred W. Roark Centennial Professor in the Section of Integrative Biology at the University of Texas at Austin, will present his lecture "Medical Applications of Evolutional Biology" at 3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, in the Alexander Drawing Room on Baylor campus. The lecture is hosted by Baylor's Honors College, which features a variety of scholars, authors and public figures throughout the year.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature Hillis discussing his current research topic, evaluating the aspects of evolutional biology. In his lecture, Hillis will highlight understanding origins, emerging viruses and the reduction of vaccines identified with human pathogens.

Hillis will relate his lecture to current events by explaining how the information for influenza is determined and will highlight the much-discussed H1N1 influenza.

"Students will gain understanding on evolutionary principles and the liability applied to study of human health," said Hillis.

Hillis's research interests include, the study of evolution of biotic, molecular genetic techniques that focus on the relationships among populations and species, including amphibians, reptiles, fishes and viruses.

The results of his research interests inspired Hillis to write several publications, including Unique and Endangered Animals of Central Texas, Molecular Systematics, Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists and DNA in Hollywood: Fact, Fiction, and Future.

Hillis is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1999, he was named the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellow and the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation in 1987. He is the son of Dr. William D. Hillis, The Cornelia Marschall Smith Distinguished Professor of Biology at Baylor.

For more information about this lecture, visit the Honors College Lecture Series website.

by Lillyan Baker, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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