Biology How Life Works

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  • James R. Morris

    James R. Morris is Professor of Biology at Brandeis University. He teaches a wide variety of courses for majors and non-majors, including introductory biology, evolution, genetics and genomics, epigenetics, comparative vertebrate anatomy, and a first-year seminar on Darwin's On the Origin of Species. He is the recipient of numerous teaching awards from Brandeis and Harvard. His research focuses on the rapidly growing field of epigenetics, making use of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. He currently pursues this research with undergraduates in order to give them the opportunity to do genuine, laboratory-based research early in their scientific careers. Dr. Morris received a PhD in genetics from Harvard University and an MD from Harvard Medical School. He was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard University, and a National Academies Education Fellow and Mentor in the Life Sciences. He also writes short essays on science, medicine, and teaching at his Science Whys blog (http://blogs.brandeis.edu/sciencewhys).


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    Daniel L. Hartl

    Daniel L. Hartl is Higgins Professor of Biology in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. He has taught highly popular courses in genetics and evolution at both the introductory and advanced levels. His lab studies molecular evolutionary genetics and population genetics and genomics. Dr. Hartl is the recipient of the Samuel Weiner Outstanding Scholar Award as well as the Gold Medal of the Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Naples. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has served as President of the Genetics Society of America and President of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. Dr. Hartl’s PhD is from the University of Wisconsin, and he did postdoctoral studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Before joining the Harvard faculty, he served on the faculties of the University of Minnesota, Purdue University, and Washington University Medical School. In addition to publishing more than 400 scientific articles, Dr. Hartl has authored or coauthored 30 books.


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    Andrew H. Knoll

    Andrew H. Knoll is Fisher Professor of Natural History in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. He is also Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Dr. Knoll teaches introductory courses in both departments. His research focuses on the early evolution of life, Precambrian environmental history, and the interconnections between the two. He has also worked extensively on the early evolution of animals, mass extinction, and plant evolution. He currently serves on the science team for NASA's mission to Mars. Dr. Knoll received the Phi Beta Kappa Book Award in Science for Life on a Young Planet. Other honors include the Paleontological Society Medal and Wollaston Medal of the Geological Society, London. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He received his Ph.D from Harvard University and then taught at Oberlin College before returning to Harvard.


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    Robert A. Lue

    Robert A. Lue is Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University and the Richard L. Menschel Faculty Director of the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning. Dr. Lue has a longstanding commitment to interdisciplinary teaching and research, and chaired the faculty committee that developed the first integrated science foundation in the country to serve science majors as well as pre-medical students. The founding director of Life Sciences Education at Harvard, Dr. Lue led a complete redesign of the introductory curriculum, redefining how the university can more effectively foster new generations of scientists as well as science-literate citizens. Dr. Lue has also developed award-winning multimedia, including the animation “The Inner Life of the Cell.” He has coauthored undergraduate biology textbooks and chaired education conferences on college biology for the National Academies and the National Science Foundation and on diversity in science for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institutes of Health. In 2012, Dr. Lue’s extensive work on using technology to enhance learning took a new direction when he became faculty director of university-wide online education initiative HarvardX; he now helps to shape Harvard’s engagement in online learning to reinforce its commitment to teaching excellence. Dr. Lue earned his PhD from Harvard University.


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    Melissa Michael

    Melissa Michael is Director for Core Curriculum and Assistant Director for Undergraduate Instruction for the School of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A cell biologist, she primarily focuses on the continuing development of the School’s undergraduate curricula. She is currently engaged in several projects aimed at improving instruction and assessment at the course and program levels. Her research focuses primarily on how creative assessment strategies affect student learning outcomes, and how outcomes in large-enrollment courses can be improved through the use of formative assessment in active classrooms.


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