Prominent Evolutionary Biology Researcher to Speak at Baylor

March 21, 2011

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A high profile population and evolutionary genetics researcher will be on the Baylor University campus Thursday, March 24, to speak about Darwinism, science and religion.

Dr. Francisco Ayala, the Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences and professor of philosophy at the University of California, Irvine, will speak at Baylor on Thursday, March 24, at 7 p.m. in room B.110 of the Baylor Sciences Building. Ayala will present his lecture "Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion," which is free and open to the public.

A former Dominican priest ordained in 1960, Ayala graduated from the University of Salamanca and moved to the U.S. in 1961 where he continued his studies and received his doctorate degree from Columbia University in 1964.

Ayala may be best known for his research into evolutionary biology. Some of his research findings have led to new approaches to the prevention and treatment of diseases that affect millions. For instance, he demonstrated that the reproduction of the agent in Chagas disease is mostly the product of cloning, and that only a few clones account for most of this widespread, South American disease that affects nearly 20 million people.

Ayala is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has served as president and chairman of the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He also is a member of the national academy of arts and sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He has published more than 950 journal articles and 30 books. In 2001, Ayala was awarded the National Medal of Science and this past year he was awarded the Templeton Prize. The science library at University of California, Irvine is named after him

Media contact: Frank Raczkiewicz, Assistant Vice President of Media Communications, 254-710-1964.

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