Neurobiologist Erich Jarvis ’88 Leads New Scientific Studies of Historic Importance
Hunter alumnus Erich Jarvis has co-authored a number of groundbreaking articles just published in a special new issue of Science, the world's leading journal of original scientific research.
The articles document the first stage of a hugely ambitious project, sequencing the genomes of nearly 50 species of birds, en route to Jarvis's goal of sequencing all 10,000 bird genomes. Today's published data are pertinent not only to avian evolution, but also to our knowledge of how both birds and humans learn to communicate and allocate specific genes and brain areas for both song and spoken language. The evolutionary trees already generated by Jarvis's team will lead to even more discoveries and advances, eventually enabling scientists to better understand the root causes of devastating neurological diseases.
Jarvis discusses his work in this fascinating Science podcast. The studies have also been covered extensively in the popular media, including National Geographic, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.
As an undergraduate at Hunter, Jarvis majored in biology and mathematics, studied at The Center for Translational and Basic Research, and worked as a Minority Access to Research Careers Fellow. He earned his PhD and conducted post-doctoral research at The Rockefeller University, and he is currently an investigator at the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and is on the faculty of the Duke University School of Medicine, where he runs the comparative neuroscience laboratory.
Jarvis was inducted into the Hunter Hall of Fame in 2002.