Scott Vernon Edwards

Harvard University
Evolutionary biologist; Educator; Curator; Academic research institution administrator
Biological Sciences
Evolution and Ecology

Dr. Scott Vernon Edwards is the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology at Harvard University and Curator of Ornithology at the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Edwards’ research integrates field, museum and genomics approaches to avian evolution. As a doctoral student at University of California, Berkeley, Edwards integrated genetics and research into population structure to study a group of cooperatively breeding songbirds called babblers (Pomatostomus) found throughout Australia and New Guinea. Edwards conducted postdoctoral research as an Alfred P. Sloan Postdoctoral Fellow in Molecular Evolution at the University of Florida, Gainesville studying the evolution of genes involved with disease resistance in wild birds. Such genes play an important role in many aspects of avian biology, including parasite resistance, plumage color variation and mate choice. He continued research integrating immunogenetics and population genetics of birds during his nine years at the University of Washington, placing extensive emphasis of mentoring of undergraduate and graduate students. In his current position at Harvard and the Museum of Comparative Zoology, he continues efforts to unite genomics and natural history and involve students at all levels. His current major interests include multilocus phylogeography and speciation in birds; genome evolution during the transition from reptiles to birds; host-pathogen interactions (such as the house finch-Mycoplasma epizootic) and the evolutionary consequences of disease outbreaks; and statistical models for inferring multilocus phylogenies and historical demography. Edwards’ studies in population genetics have contributed an important quantitative framework for studying geographic variation, genome evolution, immunogenetics, speciation and systematics.

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