The Theodosius Dobzhansky Prize


The Theodosius Dobzhansky Prize is awarded annually by the Society for the Study of Evolution to recognize the accomplishments and future promise of an outstanding young evolutionary biologist.   The prize was established in memory of Professor Dobzhansky by his friends and colleagues, and reflects his lifelong commitment to fostering the research careers of young scientists. Applications open in the fall and close February 15.



Application Procedure

           Eligibility – The candidate must have a Ph.D. (or equivalent) awarded no earlier than May 2014 and no later than 1st February 2018, and must be actively involved in research in the field of evolutionary biology.  There are no other restrictions.  Applicants do not have to be members of the Society for the Study of Evolution, but such membership is encouraged.

           Nomination/Application - Candidates may apply directly or may be nominated.  Established researchers are encouraged to nominate outstanding young scientists who may be unaware of the existence and prestige of this prize.  Each candidacy must be supported by the following materials detailing the candidate\'s career to date: (1) a curriculum vitae, (2) a summary of research accomplishments of up to 3 pages, (3) a statement of up to 4 pages of research plans for the next 5 years (note length limitation), (4) pdf copies of three recent publications, (5) names and addresses of the three referees (including the nominating scientist where applicable) who have sent supporting letters.  N.B.: The three letters of reference are sent separately, but no application will be considered without these letters.

The application/nomination materials must be sent as PDF e-mail attachments, preferably united in a single file.  The deadline for receipt of all materials, including letters of reference, is 15 February 2018.  All materials should be sent to the SSE Secretary (Cynthia Weinig) at

           Award - The Dobzhansky Prize is accompanied by a check for U.S. $5000, and will be awarded at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Evolution, 2018, in Montpellier. The recipient is expected to be present to receive the award and to give an oral presentation about his/her research.  To facilitate attendance, the SSE provides funds to cover the costs of conference registration, accommodation during the conference, and expenses for travel to and from the conference.  The recipient will be notified of the award by late March 2018.


2017 Recipient

This year’s winner of the Dobzhansky Prize is Dr. Molly Schumer. Dr. Schumer completed her Bachelor’s degree at Reed College and her PhD at Princeton University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia for one year, and is currently a Junior Fellow at Harvard University. Dr. Schumer’s research addresses questions related to the patterns and processes of hybridization. Evolutionary biologists have often envisioned speciation as an ordered process, where reproductive barriers arise and prevent gene flow between species; with the advent of high-throughput sequencing, it is now possible to more thoroughly examine the evolutionary history of species. Among many important findings, Dr. Schumer’s results in swordtail fish show that hybridization events can be more common than previously thought, and that large genomic fractions may be derived from hybridization, suggesting that hybridization makes major contributions to the genomic landscapes of modern species. Dr. Schumer’s work has appeared in the journals Evolution, eLIFE, PLoS Genetics, Molecular Ecology, and Science.


Dr. Schumer's Dobzhansky Award talk at the annual Evolution meeting in 2017. |


Past Dobzhansky Prize winners:

        1990   Erik Greene       2000   Thomas Lenormand       2010   Fyodor Kondrashov   
1981   Douglas R. Cavener       1991   Jonathan Losos       2001   Alexander Badyaev       2011   Joel McGlothlin  
1982  Elizabeth Anne Zimmer       1992   Barry Sinervo       2002   Howard Rundle        2012   Daniel Rabosky  
1983 Anthony J. Zera     1993   H. Allen Orr       2003   Daven Presgraves       2013   Rowan D. H. Barrett  
1984   Robb F. Leary     1994   David Haig       2004   Aneil Agrawal       2014   Daniel Matute  
1985 Joshua J. Schwartz      1995   David Begun       2005   Daniel Bolnick       2015    Katie Wagner
        1996   Rufus A. Johnstone       2006   Russel Bonduriansky        2016    Mary Caswell Stoddard
1987   Ary A. Hoffmann       1997   Massimo Pigliucci        2007   Franziska Michor       2017  Molly Schumer
1988  Steven A. Frank       1998   Christian P. Klingenberg       2008   Patrik Nosil              
1989 Bernard J. Crespi     1999   Jason B. Wolf       2009   Judith Mank               


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