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Casey Dunn to receive NSF Waterman Award
Date:3/16/2011

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has named its awardee for this year's Alan T. Waterman Award: Casey Dunn, a biologist at Brown University.

Dunn's work involves genome analyses to better understand relationships between groups of animals. He investigates the origins of biological complexity through work with deep-sea creatures called siphonophores. His research holds clues about how complex multicellular organisms, including humans, were formed.

Dunn will receive $500,000 over three years to continue his studies of animal evolution.

"The Waterman Award is designed to recognize outstanding young researchers like Casey Dunn," said NSF Director Subra Suresh. "His research has already made substantial contributions to our understanding of the origins of a diversity of life. His insights should further this important field of study in the years to come."

Dunn serves as assistant professor of biology in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown University where he also runs the Dunn Lab, which investigates how evolution has produced a diversity of life.

The lab primarily studies morphology, a branch of biology that deals with the form and structure of animals. Research there also pursues learning about the actual history of life on Earth, as well as the general properties of evolution that have contributed to life's historical patterns. The type of questions the lab asks require marine, laboratory and computational work.

Central to Dunn's work is the development of phylogenetic tools--that is, tools that aid the study of how groups of organisms are evolutionarily related, which is discovered through molecular sequencing data, morphological data and the application of these tools to particular groups of organisms. The Dunn Lab also studies development from a descriptive and functional perspective because the diversity of form has been realized through the evolution of developmental mecha
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Contact: Lisa-Joy Zgorski
lisajoy@nsf.gov
703-292-8311
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

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