Nancy A. Moran, the inaugural William H. Fleming, M.D. ’57 Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, is an internationally recognized expert on evolution whose research focus is on symbiosis, particularly that between multicellular hosts and microbes.
Her appointment is effective on Jan. 1.
A 1997 recipient of a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation award, Moran does research on genetic co-evolution between aphids (small plant-eating insects) and the symbiotic bacteria that live within them. She has shown that the interaction between aphids and their symbionts has led to evolution of cooperative physiological pathways in which both share genes. She has pursued this topic using ecological, comparative, experimental and genomic methods. She is also interested in the contribution of symbiosis to evolutionary novelty and success.
Moran will conduct research in the new Microbial Diversity Institute at Yale's West Campus and will be involved in undergraduate and graduate teaching in ecology and evolutionary biology.
Moran joins the Yale faculty after teaching since 1986 at the University of Arizona, where she was the Regents' Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She won the school's Extraordinary Faculty Award in 2008. She was also named a Galileo Circle Faculty Fellow in the university's College of Science in 2006.
A graduate of the University of Texas, Moran earned an M.S. and Ph.D. in zoology at the University of Michigan. She was a National Academy of Sciences Fellow at the Institute of Entomology in Czechoslovakia and was a postdoctoral fellow at Northern Arizona University before beginning her teaching career.
Moran is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and chairs its Section on Evolutionary Biology. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 1988, she was honored with an American Society of Naturalists President's Award.
In some of her research projects at the University of Arizona, Moran engaged Tucson high school students who are members of groups that traditionally have been underrepresented in science.
The new professorship is named for Yale College alumnus Dr. William H. Fleming, a retired thoracic surgeon. The professorship was established to help Yale maintain the highest standard of excellence in the biological sciences.