Sean B. Carroll

Thursday, 19 April 2018 at 16:00 | Large Operon, EMBL Heidelberg

Sean B. Carroll | University of Wisconsin-Madison (USA)

Host: Anne Ephrussi, Developmental Biology Unit


Butterfly Spots and Rattlesnake Tales

The origin of novelty is one of the central questions of evolution. My laboratory has been focused on the genetic mechanisms underlying the evolution of animal form, and more recently, on biochemical novelties such as the evolution of snake venom. While the general mechanisms involved are distinct, the one common lesson these two pursuits have provided is, in biology, to expect the unexpected.


Sean B. Carroll is an award-winning scientist, writer, educator, and film producer. He is Vice President for Science Education of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the largest private supporter of science education activities in the US, and Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Wisconsin.

Sean is the author of five books for general audiences including The Serengeti Rules, Brave Genius, The Making of the Fittest, Endless Forms Most Beautiful and Remarkable Creatures which was a finalist for the National Book Award for non-fiction. In 2016, Sean received the Lewis Thomas Prize for Writing about Science.

Sean’s laboratory research has centered on the genes that control animal body patterns and play major roles in the evolution of animal diversity. He has received the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Sciences, been elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the European Molecular Biology Organization, as well as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

The architect of HHMI’s documentary film initiative, Sean has served as executive producer and/or on-screen presenter of more than a dozen films, including including Mass Extinction, Amazon Adventure, and The Farthest, and earned two Emmy nominations.