Curriculum Vitae


Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of Chicago
Gordon Center for Integrative Science W123B
979 E. 57th Street, Chicago, Ill. 60637
312-702-1625/Fax 312-947-9345/Email

Short biography:

James A. Shapiro is Professor of Microbiology in The Department Of Biochemistry And Molecular Biology at the University Of Chicago. He received his B.A. in English Literature from Harvard in 1964 and his Ph.D. in Genetics from Cambridge University in 1968 under Prof. W. Hayes, FRS. After postdoctoral fellowships at Institut Pasteur with Prof. Francois Jacob (1967-1968) and Harvard Medical School with Prof. Jonathan Beckwith (1968-1970), he served as Invited Professor in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Havana, Cuba (1970-1972). At the University of Chicago since 1973, he was Darwin Prize Visiting Professor at the University of Edinburgh (1993). In 2001, he received an O.B.E. from Queen Elizabeth for services to the Marshall Scholarship Program. He is a founding member of the web site,, intended to make the public aware of scientific alternatives to both Intelligent Design and Neo-Darwinism. He has published pioneering books on mobile genetic elements, natural genetic engineering, bacterial multicellularity, and read-write genome evolution, including:

• Bukhari, A.I., J.A. Shapiro, and S.L. Adhya (eds.) 1977. DNA Insertion Elements, Plasmids and Episomes, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

• Shapiro, J.A. (ed.) 1983. Mobile Genetic Elements, Academic Press.

• Shapiro, J.A. and M. Dworkin (eds.). 1997. Bacteria as Multicellular Organisms, Oxford University Press.
• Shapiro, J.A. 2011. Evolution: A View from the 21st Century. FT Press Science (ISBN-10: 0-13-278093-3; ISBN-13: 978- 0-13-278093-3)

Harvard College, Sept., 1960-June, 1964
B.A. in English Literature, Magna cum laude
Phi Beta Kappa, 1963

Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, England, Sept.1964-August,1967
Ph.D. in Genetics, October, 1968 (W. Hayes, supervisor)

Postdoctoral Fellow, August, 1967-August, 1968
Service de Genetique Cellulaire
Institut Pasteur, Paris, France
Prof. Francois Jacob
Jane Coffin Childs Fellowship

Research Fellow, October 1968-June, 1970
Department of Bacteriology and Immunology
Harvard Medical School
Prof. Jonathan Beckwith
Jane Coffin Childs Fellowship

Invited Professor, August, 1970-April, 1972
Department of Genetics
School of Biological Sciences
University of Havana, Cuba

Research Associate, November, 1972-May, 1973
Rosenstiel Basic Medical Sciences Research Center
Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachussetts
Prof. Harlyn Halvorson

Assistant Professor, 1973-1978
Associate Professor, 1978-1982
Professor, 1982-1984
Department of Microbiology
University of Chicago
Chicago, Illinois

Visiting Professor, March-April, 1980
Department of Microbiology
Tel Aviv University, Israel

Professor of Microbiology, 1984-1985
Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology
University of Chicago

Professor of Microbiology, 1985-
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of Chicago

Darwin Prize Visiting Professor, May-July, 1993
Institute of Cell and Molecular Biology
University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Visiting Fellow, Jan. - June, 2000
Churchill College
Cambridge, England

Journal of Bacteriology, 1976-1983, 1986-1988
Enzyme and Microbial Technology, 1981-1988
Biotechnology series (Wiley), 1981-1988
FEMS Microbiological Reviews, 1985-1991
Research in Microbiology, 1996-2002
Environmental Microbiology, 1998-

American Society for Microbiology
Society for General Microbiology
Genetics Society of America
Genetical Society
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology

Co-chairman, Molecular Biology Project, U.S. Working Group under the US/USSR Scientific Exchange Agreement on the Production of Substances by Microbiological Means, 1975-1978

Co-organizer, DNA Insertion Elements meeting, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, May,1976

Director, Business and Professional People for the Public Interest (BPI), 1978-1983

National Science Foundation Genetic Biology Panel, 1981-1984

Biotechnology Contact Group, Mayor's Task Force on High Technology 1982-1983

Organizing Committee, Third International Symposium on Microbial Ecology, Michigan State University, August, 1982

International Commission on Genetics of Industrial Microorganisms, 1982-1990

Board, University of Chicago B'nai-Brith Hillel Foundation, 1983-88, 1996- (Chairman, Finance Committee, 1984-1988; Chairman, Fundraising Committee, 1996-2000)

Board, KAM-Isaiah Israel Congregation, 1990-1995, 1998-2002

Marshall Scholarship, Midwest Regional Selection Committee, 1984-2000; chairman, 1991-2000

Organizer, ASM Conference on "Multicellular Behavior of Bacteria: In Nature, Industry and the Laboratory," Woods Hole Marine Biology Laboratory, October 21-25, 1990

Board of Visitors, Biological Sciences Division, Office of Naval Research, Jan. 15-16, 1991

Review Panel on "Genetic Ecology of Biofilms and Microbially-Influenced Corrosion," Electric Power Research Institute, Knoxville, Tennessee, Mar. 25-27, 1991

Organizing committee, International Conference on Genome Plasticity, Cancun, Mexico, December 8-12, 1991

Organizing committee, ASM Conference on "Interactive and Multicellular Behavior of Bacteria," Woods Hole Marine Biology Laboratory, March 28-April 1, 1993

Organizer, joint Physical-Biological Sciences mini-symposium, "Dynamic Cell Systems: From Molecules and Motors to Networks and Populations," University of Chicago, May 20, 1994

Steering Committee, "Global Issues in Microbiological Water Quality for the Next Century" Colloquium, Guayaquil, Ecuador, March, 1995

Organizing committee, EMBO Workshop on "Evolutionary Engineering of the Procaryotic Genome," Retie, Belgium, July 3-5, 1995

Faculty, summer school on "Physics of Biological Systems," Humlebaek, Denmark, August 14-27, 1995

Organizer, workshop on "Cellular computation," Santa Fe Institute, October 5-8, 1997

Organizing committee, "The information revolution in midstream: An Anglo-American perspective," School of Information, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, May 29-31, 1998

Organizing committee, NY Academy of Sciences Symposium, "Molecular Strategies in Biological Evolution," Rockefeller University in New York June 27-29, 1998

Faculty, summer school on "Physics of Biological Systems," Humlebaek, Denmark, August 20-23, 1998

Lecturer, program on "Statistical Physics and Biological Information," Institute for Theoretical Physics, Santa Barbara, March 16-17, 2001

Teacher, course on The Read-Write Genome, Ferdinand Mach Institute, Trento, Italy, November 12-15, 2013

Marshall Scholarship (1964-1966)
Wellcome Research Training Scholarship (1966-1967)
Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Cancer Research Postdoctoral Fellowship (1967-69)
NIH Research Career Development Award (1976-1980)
Darwin Prize, University of Edinburgh (1993)
Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology (1993)
Foundation for Microbiology Lecturer, American Society for Microbiology (1994-6)
AAAS Fellow (1994)
OBE (2001)
Ide Trotter Prize, Texas A&M University (2014)