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Listen or download interview (mp3, 62 minutes, 58MB)
Barbara Schaal's career as a leading evolutionary biologist began with a youthful fascination with plants. Currently the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor at Washington University, she is recognized for her work on the genetics of plant species, particularly for her studies that use DNA sequences to understand evolutionary processes such as gene flow, geographical differentiation, and the domestication of crop species.
Born in Berlin, Germany, Dr. Schaal grew up in Chicago, graduated from the University of Illinois, Chicago with a degree in biology, and earned her doctorate from Yale University in 1974. She was on the faculty of the University of Houston and The Ohio State University before joining Washington University in 1980, where she is the Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor. Schaal has been president of the Botanical Society of America and president of the Society for the Study of Evolution. In 2005 Dr. Schaal became the first woman elected to the vice presidency of the National Academy of Sciences.
Last Updated: 06-08-2009
The audio files linked above are part of the National Academy of Sciences InterViews series. Opinions and statements included in these audio files are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Academy of Sciences.