Genetics Society of America Names Brian Charlesworth as Recipient of Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal

Posted: January 30, 2015 at 1:43 am

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Newswise BETHESDA, MD The Genetics Society of America (GSA) is pleased to announce that Brian Charlesworth, PhD (University of Edinburgh) has been awarded the Society's Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal for lifetime achievement in the field of genetics. The award, whose namesake was a Nobel laureate and geneticist, recognizes Dr. Charlesworth's profound impact on our understanding of population genetics and evolutionary biology. Dr. Charlesworth will receive the award at the 56th Annual Drosophila Research Conference, organized by GSA, March 48, 2015 in Chicago, IL.

"For over 40 years, Dr. Charlesworth has been a leader in evolutionary genetics research, both theoretical and empirical," said Charles Langley, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Genetics at the University of California, Davis. "Our understanding of the genetic basis of evolution from the molecular to the population level is deeper and richer as a result of his many contributions to the field."

Brian Charlesworth, PhD

Senior Honorary Professorial Fellow

University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Dr. Charlesworth is respected for his influence on the science of genetics, in particular his seminal achievements in population genetics and evolutionary biology. His work has helped to improve our understanding of how evolution acts on genetic variation between individuals in populations. Dr. Charlesworth's research has centered around theoretical and experimental population genetics, molecular and genome evolution, and life-history evolution. In particular, he has studied sequence evolution using the fruit fly Drosophila as a model system, and provided key insights into the evolution of sex chromosomes and transposable elements. One of his most influential contributions in the area of selection was his theory of background selection, whereby the elimination of selectively deleterious mutations affects variation at tightly linked sites, which helped to clarify the relationship between DNA sequence variation and recombination rates. His work is widely appreciated in the research community for its generality, strong empirical grounding, and the solid foundation it has provided for genetic studies of evolution.

Dr. Charlesworth has published over 250 scientific papers and three widely read books. He has led many strong departments during his career, taught genetics and evolution at elementary and advanced undergraduate and graduate levels, and served on editorial boards of various scientific journals. Dr. Charlesworth is a member of numerous scientific societies, having served as President of the Society for the Study of Evolution, the Genetics Society (UK), and the European Society for Evolutionary Biology. He has also received several Society awards throughout his career, including the Darwin Medal of the Royal Society in 2000, and the Darwin-Wallace Medal of the Linnean Society in 2010. He is a Fellow of the Royal Societies of London and Edinburgh, Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was more recently elected as a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences and as a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).

"The Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal is intended to pay tribute to such influential geneticists as Dr. Charlesworth and to his superb achievements on behalf of the entire genetics community," said Jasper Rine, PhD, 2015 GSA President and Professor of Genetics, Genomics and Development at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Genetics Society of America Names Brian Charlesworth as Recipient of Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal

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