Sean Carroll and Laura Kiessling named Fellows of Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters

Evolutionary biologist Sean Carroll and biochemist Laura Kiessling have been named as 2008 Fellows of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters. Along with five others from campus selected as Fellows — men and women of extraordinary lifetime accomplishment in the sciences, arts and letters — will be formally inducted and celebrated in a ceremony on Sunday, November 2 at the Monona Terrace Community & Convention Center in Madison.

Fellows are named for their qualities of judgment, perceptiveness, and knowledge of how literature, art, and science contribute to the cultural life and welfare of the state. They also have a career marked by an unusually high order of discovery; technological accomplishments; creative productivity in literature, poetry, or the fine or practical arts; historical analysis; legal or judicial interpretation; or philosophical thinking.

Sean Carroll uses DNA to examine the origin of species. He is a professor of molecular biology and genetics and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the UW-Madison. His research focuses on the way new animal forms have evolved, and his studies of a wide variety of animal species have dramatically changed the face of evolutionary biology. He has authored two books on animal evolution and more than 100 scientific papers. A member of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he has received numerous awards and was named one of America’s most promising leaders under 40 by Time magazine.

Laura Kiessling, Hilldale professor of chemistry and Laurens Anderson professor of biochemistry at the UW-Madison, is co-founder of Quintessence Biosciences, a Madison-based company that is developing her technology into cures for a variety of diseases. She is noted for her insights into chemical and biological processes, her excellence as a teacher and mentor of young scientists, and her local and national leadership in the chemical and biological sciences. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of numerous awards, including a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, or “genius award.” The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently selected her for their series on Wisconsin’s groundbreaking thinkers.