Professor of Biology H. Allen Orr has been named a University professor. Orr is an evolutionary geneticist who received his professorship in part because of his work with multiple disciplines. He has made substantial contributions to experimental genetics and mathematical theory.
He is also a well-established writer who co-authored the book “Speciation,” a scholarly review and critique of research on the origin of species. Orr has published his own books, as well as written for the New Yorker Magazine and the New York Review of Books.
This honor will open new channels of opportunity for Orr.
“I’m really excited about the position and the intellectual opportunities it provides me, and I’m grateful to the University for making it possible,” Orr said. “It gives me the freedom to take my work in directions that might be somewhat unorthodox.”
Orr says he is thinking about offering courses that combine different disciplines. In particular, he would like to try a course on Darwinism and religion.
In his research, Orr is interested in determining how genes cause reproductive isolation between species and what evolutionary forces drive their divergence. He studies this through genetic analysis of reproductive isolation between closely related species of fruit fly.
In this work, he tries to identify genetic patterns that illustrate the process of adaptation.
Orr received the honor because of these achievements, which have distinguished him through his outstanding and varied body of work and his various contributions to UR.
Schneier is a member ofthe class of 2011.