Andrew Knoll is the Fisher Professor of Natural History at Harvard University, serving in the departments of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and Earth and Planetary Sciences. Dr. Knoll’s research focuses on the history of life as documented by fossils, Earth’s environmental history, and the interconnections between the two. Dr. Knoll was born in Wernersville, Pennsylvania. He received his B.A. in Geology from Lehigh University in 1973 and his Ph.D., also in Geology, from Harvard in 1977. Following five years on the faculty of Oberlin College, Knoll returned to Harvard as Associate Professor of Biology in 1982. He has been a member of the Harvard faculty ever since, serving as Professor of Biology, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, chair of the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Research Interests

Knoll's research is built on fieldwork, establishing a framework of time and environment for samples to be analyzed in the laboratory. He uses fossils, complemented by phylogeny, to piece together a narrative history of life and the physical and chemical characteristics of sedimentary rocks to build a record of Earth's environmental history, increasingly using physiology as the bridge between the two. Knoll served on the science team for NASA's MER mission to Mars and continues to maintain an interest in Mars' planetary history.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 15: Geology

Secondary Section

Section 27: Evolutionary Biology