Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Mary-Dell Chilton Distinguished Professor of Biology
Washington University in St. Louis
Dr. Barbara Schaal was among the first plant scientists to use molecular biology-based approaches to understand evolutionary processes in plants, and she has worked to advance understanding of plants’ molecular systems and population genetics. Her recent work includes investigating the evolutionary genetics of plants in hopes of enriching crops such as cassava and rice. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and received her Ph.D. in population biology from Yale University. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, she was elected as the academy’s first woman vice-president in 2005. President Barack Obama appointed Schaal to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology in 2009, and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton appointed her as one of three new science envoys in 2012 to advise the White House, the U.S. Department of State, and the U.S. scientific community about insights gained from travels and interactions abroad. In addition to serving as AAAS President (2016-17), Schaal has been president of the Botanical Society of America and the Society for the Study of Evolution. She has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Key Award from the American Genetics Association, and the American Institute of Biological Sciences Distinguished Scientist Award. At Washington University in St. Louis, where she regularly involves undergraduates in her labs and mentors graduate and postdoctoral students, Schaal has received the Founders Day Distinguished Faculty Award, the Arthur Holly Compton Faculty Achievement Award, and the Graduate Student Senate Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award.