UChicago Faculty Members to Serve on MBL Interim Leadership Team

Melina Hale and Neil Shubin have agreed to serve as interim leaders of the Marine Biological Laboratory effective May 1, 2017.   Hale and Shubin will join the MBL staff while the Board identifies a successor to Huntington F. Willard who will resign as president and director of the MBL at the end of April, 2017.

Hale and Shubin will work closely with Jonathan Gitlin, director of the division of research at the MBL and a senior scientist in and director of the Eugene Bell Center for regenerative biology and tissue engineering and Paul Speer, chief operating officer, on day-to-day matters involving academic and operational matters.

haleMelina Hale, Ph.D.

At the University of Chicago, Hale is Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives, and William Rainey Harper Professor in the College and the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy. As Vice Provost, she works with faculty and deans on University-wide academic initiatives. She supports efforts with the Marine Biological Laboratory, the University’s international centers, emeritus faculty, as well as the Administrative Modernization and Shared Services initiative. She works to establish clear lines of communication between the Provost’s Office, the divisions and schools, faculty, and students regarding current and emerging academic initiatives and supports the Provost on other efforts that impact faculty life.

At the MBL, Hale is an MBL Fellow, serves on the External Advisory Board of the National Xenopus Resource and has ongoing research and collaborations. She is a former Grass Foundation Fellow and MBL course instructor.

Hale’s research examines how the brain evolves and how the brain works with the body’s musculoskeletal mechanics to generate movement and respond to sensory input from the environment. She collaborates with engineers to explore biological models that inform the design of engineered underwater propulsion system.

Hale was a National Academies/Howard Hughes Medical Institute Education Fellow and received a National Science Foundation CAREER award. At the University of Chicago she has received a Wayne C. Booth Graduate Student Prize for Excellence in Teaching and a Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1998 and joined the faculty in 2002.

shubinNeil Shubin, Ph.D.

At the University of Chicago, Shubin is the Robert R. Bensley Professor in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, and Associate Dean for Academic Strategy in the Biological Sciences Division. As a Senior Advisor to the President of the University for the MBL affiliation, he has played a key role in supporting education and research programs at the MBL since its affiliation with the University in 2013.

At the Marine Biological Laboratory, Shubin has been involved with the Embryology course, delivered a Friday Evening Lecture, and is a former Whitman Center Scientist.

Shubin researches the evolutionary origin of anatomical features of animals, and has conducted fieldwork in Antarctica, Greenland, China, Canada, much of North America and Africa. He has published multiple articles in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleobiology, as well as many articles in Science and Nature. He has written two popular science books: the best-selling Your Inner Fish (2008), named best book of the year by the National Academy of Sciences and made into an Emmy-Award winning PBS television series, and The Universe Within: The Deep History of the Human Body (2013). The evolution of limbs is Shubin’s specific area of expertise. He uses his diverse fossil findings to devise hypotheses on how anatomical transformations occurred by way of genetic and morphogenetic processes.

Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009 and the National Academy of Sciences in 2011, Shubin was recently awarded the Addison Emery Verrill Medal from Yale University, the communication award from the National Academy of Sciences, and the Carl Gustaf Bernhard Medal, The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.  He has been the recipient of a Miller Research Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He earned a Ph.D. in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard University in 1987 and joined the University of Chicago faculty as Chairman of Organismal Biology & Anatomy in 2001.