Bret Payseur, professor of genetics and medical genetics. (Photo for UW–Madison by Andy Manis)

Bret Payseur, professor of genetics and medical genetics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, has been selected as the first recipient of the James F. Crow Distinguished Professorship in the Laboratory of Genetics.

Through contributions and bequests by numerous alumni and friends of Crow, this professorship was recently established by the University of Wisconsin Foundation to honor the late professor who taught at the university from 1948 to 1986, and served as chair of the Laboratory of Genetics and as acting dean of the School of Medicine and Public Health. A scientific pioneer whose discoveries transformed the field of genetics and helped establish UW-Madison as an international leader in the field, Crow was a beloved teacher and mentor. Crow died in 2012, and an obituary by University Communications described his legacy.

Payseur’s appointment is for the period Jan. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2024.

Payseur and members of his laboratory use genetics and genomics to understand how evolution operates. Current research focuses on how new species arise, how organisms shuffle their genomes during reproduction, and how island populations evolve remarkable traits. The lab studies mice, humans, and other mammals. Currently a senior editor at PLoS Genetics, Payseur has been a faculty member at UW–Madison since 2005. He received a Medical Education and Research Committee New Investigator Award in 2006 and a Vilas Mid-Career Investigator Award in 2016.