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Steve Chaplin
IU Communications

Last modified: Thursday, September 27, 2012

Harvard evolutionary biologist to present 13th James P. Holland Memorial Lecture

Sept. 28, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Cassandra Gabrielle Extavour, an associate professor at Harvard University's Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, will give the 13th James P. Holland Memorial Lecture on Monday, Oct. 8. Extavour's work is focused on the evolution of early embryonic development, with a focus on the germ line and the evolution of the mechanisms that specify these cells during embryonic development.

Dr. Extavour

Harvard University's Cassandra Gabrielle Extavour will present the 13th James P. Holland Memorial Lecture at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 8, in Myers Hall, IU Bloomington.

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Her talk, "Evolving Immortality: The Origins and Changing Functions of Genes That Control the Germ Line," will center on efforts to develop evolutionary theory through exploration of developmental mechanisms that control embryogenesis and germ cell fate in arthropods. Her lab uses advanced cell, molecular and genomic methods to develop evolutionary theory through a better understanding of germ cell development.

Extavour earned her Ph.D. in 2000 studying Drosophila genetics at the Autonomous University of Madrid, spent a year as a postdoctoral fellow at The Foundation for Research and Technology-Hellas in Greece, worked as a postdoctoral fellow and research associate at the University of Cambridge, and became an assistant professor at Harvard in 2007.

She is currently co-principal investigator on the National Science Foundation-funded evolutionary and ecological developmental biology grant, "EDEN: Evo-Devo-Eco Network," which funds the active interchange of tools and techniques among labs working on emerging model systems, undergraduate learning in emerging model systems, and the documentation and public release of tools and techniques being used to study model organisms.

Extavour's lecture is free and open to the public and will begin at 4 p.m. in Myers Hall 130, 915 E. Third St., Bloomington.

The James P. Holland Memorial Lecture Series was created in 2000 to honor the memory of one of the most beloved faculty members on the Bloomington campus, professor James Holland (1934-1998). Holland had a passion for teaching that earned him virtually every teaching award offered on campus, including the President's Award for Distinguished Teaching. The lecture series honors his legacy and is designed to bring awareness of and support to diversity in the life sciences.

The lecture is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs; Office of the Provost; Office of the Vice Provost for Research; College of Arts and Sciences; Department of Biology and its National Institutes of Health Graduate Training Grant; and the Medical Sciences Program.

For more information, please contact Steve Chaplin, IU Communications, at 812-856-1896 or