The Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) proudly announces our 2015 Visiting Professor of Anthropogeny -- Francisco J. Ayala. Dr. Ayala is CARTA's fourth visiting professor and joined us in the Fall of 2015. On December 7, 2015, Dr. Ayala presented a talk on "Evolution of Ethical Behavior and Moral Values: Biology? Culture?". This presentation was held at the Center for Neural Circuits and Behavior on the UCSD Campus.
Francisco J. Ayala is the Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences at UC Irvine. In 2002, President George W. Bush awarded him the National Medal of Science at the White House. From 1994 to 2001, Ayala was a member of President Clinton's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. He has been president and chairman of the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1993-1996), and President of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society of the U.S (2004-2005). Dr. Ayala is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and numerous foreign academies, and has received numerous prizes and honorary degrees. He has published more than 1,000 articles and is author or editor of 38 books. Dr. Ayala has made significant and wide-ranging experimental and theoretical contributions to evolution theory. His scientific research focuses on population and evolutionary genetics, including the origin of species, genetic diversity of populations, the origin of malaria, the population structure of parasitic protozoa, and the molecular clock of evolution. He also writes about the interface between religion and science, and on philosophical issues concerning epistemology, ethics, education, and the philosophy of biology. He was a chief witness in the creationist trials in Arkansas in 1981 that prevented religion from being taught as science in the classroom. Dr. Ayala has been called the “Renaissance Man of Evolutionary Biology” by The New York Times. In May, 2010, Professor Ayala received the Templeton Prize.
Linda Marchant is Professor of Biological Anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at Miami University (Ohio) and she is the Director of the University Honors Program. She served for 10 years as the Anthropology Chair and was the founding chair of that department. Her research interests include behavioral primatology, laterality of function (handedness), African apes and visual anthropology. She is the author of more than 60 book chapters and journal articles, co-editor of an invited special issue of Annals of the New Academy of Sciences (2013), “The Evolution of Human Handedness,” and co-editor of Behavioural Diversity in Chimpanzees and Bonobos (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and Great Ape Societies (Cambridge University Press, 1996). She has been a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution, University of St. Andrews, (2001); a Visiting Fellow at the Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies, Department of Biological Anthropology, University of Cambridge, a Research Associate at Darwin College, University of Cambridge (2009-2010); a Visiting Scholar, Department of Anthropology, UC San Diego; and Visiting Professor at the Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA), UC San Diego, January-June, 2013
The Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) proudly announces our first Visiting Professor of Anthropogeny, Professor Bernard A. Wood who was also a Visiting Professor in the Department of Anthropology. Professor Wood is University Professor of Human Origins, Professor of Human Evolutionary Anatomy, and Director of the Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology at The George Washington University. The GW Center includes almost 30 faculty members whose interests represent and overlap with those of CARTA. Professor Wood serves as one of CARTA's external advisors, and has been involved in our efforts for almost a decade.
Professor Wood received his M.D., Ph.D. and D.Sc from the University of London, and is a medically qualified paleoanthropologist who practiced as a surgeon before moving into full-time academic life in 1972. He has held the S.A. Courtauld Chair of Anatomy in The University of London, and the Derby Chair of Anatomy in The University of Liverpool where he also served as Dean before moving into the Anthropology Department at George Washington University in 1997. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and a Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain.
When still a medical student, Professor Wood joined Richard Leakey's first expedition to what was then Lake Rudolf in 1968, and he has remained associated with that research group ever since. His work centers on ways to improve the way we can use the fossil record to clarify human evolutionary history. He is the author or co-author of eight books, >160 refereed articles or book chapters, >130 papers or posters, >50 commentaries and encyclopedia entries, >90 book reviews and one electronic database.
His contributions to the field are both visionary and legendary. All of his work reflects his profound knowledge of anatomy, taxonomic principles, and evolutionary theory as well as his ability to understand and integrate fields spanning geology, geochronology, and biogeography. He is unequalled in combining expertise in the fossil record with a real understanding of brain evolution, and his classic papers demonstrated clearly that ours was only one of several bipedal human-like lineages to have emerged 2 to 3 million years ago, truly a startling disclosure.
During his 3-month visit to CARTA and Anthropology at UCSD, Professor Wood gave seminars, taught in Anthropology courses, interacted with interested faculty and students, and continued to advise CARTA on its development.
The UCSD/Salk Center for Academic Research and Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) proudly announces our second Visiting Professor for 2009 - Jean-Pierre Changeux, who is Professor of Molecular Neurobiology at the Collège de France, and at the Institut Pasteur. Professor Changeux and is also a Visiting Professor in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SSPPS).
Since 1967, Jean-Pierre Changeux has directed a laboratory of Molecular Neurobiology at the Institut Pasteur. His main contributions and discoveries in the course of the past 37 years are centered on the general theme of the molecular and cellular mechanisms of signal recognition and transduction, also referred to as receptor mechanisms, primarily in the nervous system. In his early work, as a student of Jacques Monod, Changeux made essential discoveries with the bacterial enzyme L-threonine deaminase on the experimental basis and theoretical foundation of allosteric interactions between topographically distinct sites as a general mechanism of signal transduction mediated by specific conformational changes. Subsequently, Changeux extended these views to the receptors for neurotransmitters involved in synaptic transmission. Together with his group, he made the decisive steps in the identification of the acetylcholine nicotinic receptor, the first neurotransmitter receptor linked to a ion channel, and unravelled the main features of its functional organization (in particular its active site and ion channel) as well as the mechanisms of its activation and short-term regulation, in particular by desensitization, thus substantiating its properties as "allosteric membrane protein". Furthermore, Changeux and his collaborators have proposed a model of epigenesis of neural networks by selective stabilization of synapses, and analyzed in these terms the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of acetylcholine receptor genes expression during the development of the motor endplate. These issues are of relevance for the understanding of long term synaptic plasticity. In the field of cognition, Changeux's original extension of the selectionist scheme to the epigenesis of neuronal networks and to higher brain functions has inspired a number of theoreticians and experimentalists. In this respect, his book L'homme neuronal, 1983, Librarie Arthème Fayard, was widely acclaimed by scientists from very different disciplines. His seminal work on the nicotinic receptor has pioneered new fields of research in signal transduction mechanisms, molecular pharmacology and pathology of chemical communications in the nervous system.
Changeux is the recipient of numerous awards and honorary doctorates, and an elected member of many prestigious organizations, including the Académie des Sciences, Paris, the US National Academy of Sciences (foreign associate) The Royal Academy of Sciences of Sweden (foreign member), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (foreign member) the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies (foreign member), and the European Academy of Sciences.
During his visit to CARTA and SSPPS at UCSD, Professor Changeux gave seminars, taught in courses, interacted with interested faculty and students, and Chaired the March 20th, 2009 CARTA Symposium on the "Evolutionary Origins of Art and Aesthetics".