Michael Donaghue is designated as a Sterling Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Michael J. Donaghue, recently appointed as Sterling Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, focuses his research on the diversity and evolution of plants.

A Sterling Professorship is one of the University’s highest honors for faculty.

During his just completed two-year term as the first vice president for West Campus planning and program development, he helped formulate a plan for the 136-acre Yale site, and launched major multidisciplinary initiatives there. He has also served as director of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History (2003-2008), chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (2001-2002) and curator of botany at the Peabody Museum, a post he has held since he first came to Yale as the G. Evelyn Hutchinson Professor in 2000.

The author of more than 180 scientific papers, Donaghue has been a leader in the movement to reconstruct the entire Tree of Life. He helped build and coordinates a relational database of phylogenetic knowledge called TreeBase. His research has taken him to Latin America, China and elsewhere, and he has played a prominent role in DIVERSITAS, an international scientific organization focused on biodiversity and global change.

A graduate of Michigan State University, Donaghue earned his Ph.D. at Harvard University. He taught at San Diego State University, the University of Arizona and Harvard University before coming to Yale. At the University, he holds joint appointments in the Departments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Department of Geology and Geophysics.

Donaghue’s scientific contributions have earned him numerous awards, including Michigan State University’s Outstanding Alumni and Distinguished Alumni Awards, and named lectureships at universities throughout the United States. He has served on several national scientific councils and committees throughout his career. He was a Senior Mellon Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution from 1992 to 1994 and became a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1997. In 2005 he was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and, in 2008, as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.