Melissa Wilson Sayres
Melissa Wilson Sayres is an evolutionary biologist and science outreach advocate. She uses bioinformatics and genomics to study the evolutionary dynamics of sex chromosomes, male mutation bias, and pregnancy. Recently she published work showing that human Y chromosomes are much more similar to each other than expected, due to the fact that natural selection is acting to maintain the useful gene content that still survives there.
Introducing science to the public is an important goal for Sayres. She has organized hands-on scientific activities for over 10,000 participants at the National Science and Engineering Festival, and seven years ago developed the content and infrastructure for a bi-annual workshop, which continues to introduce middle-school-aged girls to diverse scientific disciplines today. In addition to increasing appreciation of science among youth, Sayres is a vocal advocate for evolution education at all levels. She writes about her own science and other primary research articles for the public on her blog, mathbionerd.blogspot.com, and discusses evolution with anyone who wants to engage at pandasthumb.org.
Sayres received her BS in medical mathematics from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and her PhD in integrative biology from the Pennsylvania State University. As a mathematical biologist married to a physical chemist, she’s pretty sure their daughter will grow up to be an artist, and that’s wonderful.