Professor honored for evolutionary development biology contributions

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Feb 2, 2010

Dr. Mark Q. Martindale
Dr. Mark Q. Martindale
Dr. Mark Q. Martindale, director of the Kewalo Marine Laboratory and professor in the Pacific Biosciences Research Center (PBRC) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, has been awarded the Alexander Kowalevsky Medal for Comparative Embryology for his contributions to the field of evolutionary developmental biology.
Awarded by the Scientific Council of Saint-Petersburg Society of Naturalists, the medal is given for outstanding achievement in modern evolutionary biology of development and comparative zoology. A. Kowalevsky (1840-1901) was a pioneer of the field of comparative embryology and one of the first Russian scientists to embrace the evolutionary theories of Darwin. His studies of patterning of the early embryo provided important evidence in support of the evolution of animals, and he was known for his careful attention to detail and excellent experimental skills.
Dr. Martindale is one of the world’s foremost comparative embryologists and a leader in the field of “Evo-Devo” or evolutionary developmental biology. Like Kowalevsky, Martindale has used evolution as an integrating principle for his empirical studies of the cellular and molecular aspects of development of diverse taxa. Martindale has worked on a wide range of animals, mostly marine species—an unusual approach for most developmental biologists, who often study a single “model organism.” His work has drawn attention to the importance and insights gained by studying lesser studied animal taxa to complement knowledge based on model organisms. He has published over 100 peer-reviewed scientific publications, covering 14 different phyla, many in high-impact journals.
“This is quite an honor as Kowalevsky was one of the founders of modern Evo-Devo,” says Dr. Martindale. “My work follows his own, in that we both have worked extensively at marine laboratories utilizing the rich biological diversity of marine animals to shape our ideas.”
Previous recipients of the Alexander Kowalevsky medal include such renowned scientists as Drs. Michael Akam, Sean Carroll, Scott Gilbert, Gary Freeman, Brian Hall, Peter Holland, Klaus Sander, Rudolf Raff, Nori Satoh and D.T. Anderson.