Press Release

Stephanie Stone (415) 379-5121

Andrew Ng (415) 379-5123



SAN FRANCISCO (March 24, 2008) — The California Academy of Sciences is pleased to announce that Dr. David Mindell will join the museum on July 1, 2008 as the new Dean of Science and Research Collections. Mindell is currently a Professor and Curator at the University of Michigan and its Museum of Zoology, where he studies the evolution and systematics of birds. "Active scientific research has formed the intellectual core of the Academy since its founding in 1853," says Dr. Gregory Farrington, the Academy's Executive Director. "Dr. Mindell is a leading researcher in the study of evolution and the natural world who has demonstrated a commitment to science education. He is an ideal person to lead research at the Academy into the 21st Century."

In this new role, Mindell will guide the Academy's efforts to address two of the most important scientific issues of our time—the evolution and sustainability of life on Earth. He will oversee ongoing research at the Academy in 11 different scientific disciplines: anthropology, aquatic biology, botany, comparative genomics, entomology, geology, herpetology, ichthyology, invertebrate zoology, mammalogy, and ornithology. He will also oversee the care of the Academy's research collections—an invaluable resource including more than 20 million scientific specimens from around the world.

Since 1994, Mindell has filled a number of roles at the University of Michigan, including Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Director of the Museum of Zoology, and Director of the Genomic Diversity Laboratory. He has also written a popular science book entitled The Evolving World: Evolution in Everyday Life, which won the 2007 Independent Publisher Gold Medal award for Best Book in the science category. His research interests include the evolutionary genetics and systematics of birds, conservation biology, molecular evolution, genomics, rates of evolution, macroevolution, coevolution of retroviruses and avian hosts, and the evolution and phylogeny of viruses.

Mindell received his Ph.D. degree from Brigham Young University in 1986. He was a post-doctoral fellow at Tel Aviv University in 1986 and at Harvard University from 1987-1988. Prior to joining the University of Michigan staff, he was a member of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Cincinnati.

The California Academy of Sciences is home to Steinhart Aquarium, Morrison Planetarium and the Kimball Natural History Museum. The Academy is in the midst of an extensive rebuilding project in Golden Gate Park. Pritzker prize-winning architect Renzo Piano is designing the new Academy, which is scheduled to open on September 27, 2008. (415) 379-8000.

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