Year of Honorary Fellowship, 2012
Naomi Pierce is the Hessel Professor of Biology in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, and Curator of Lepidoptera in the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Research in her laboratory focuses on the ecology and evolution of species interactions. This has ranged from field studies measuring the costs and benefits of symbioses between ants and other organisms, to genetic analyses of biochemical signalling pathways underlying interactions between plants, pathogens and insects. She has also been involved in reconstructing the evolutionary ‘Tree of life’ of insects such as ants, bees, and butterflies, and in using molecular phylogenies to make comparative studies of life history evolution and biogeographical distributions. Pierce came to Harvard in 1990 after appointments as a Research Lecturer in Christ Church and the Department of Zoology, Oxford University, and Assistant and Associate Professor, Princeton University. She has received prizes such as a Fulbright Fellowship and a MacArthur award and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Senior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows. The author of numerous scientific papers and an edited book, she lives in Cambridge with her husband and their two daughters.