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Biology Professor Joshua Plotkin: Inaugural Martin Meyerson Assistant Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies

March 24, 2009, Volume 55, No. 26



Dr. Joshua Plotkin has been named the inaugural Martin Meyerson Assistant Professor in Interdisciplinary Studies. Holding appointments in both the department of biology in the School of Arts and Sciences and the department of computer and information science in the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Dr. Plotkin uses mathematics and computation to study questions in evolutionary biology and ecology. His ongoing research focuses on population genetics, with the goal of understanding how organisms evolve at the molecular level.

Dr. Plotkin received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Harvard University in 1999 and his doctorate in applied and computational mathematics from Princeton University in 2003. He joined the Penn faculty in 2007, after five years conducting research as a junior fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows, and was recently named a 2009 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow.

Designated for outstanding faculty members whose pursuits exemplify the integration of knowledge, the Martin Meyerson Assistant Professorship in Interdisciplinary Studies has been established by Margy Ellin Meyerson, G’93, in memory of her late husband, Penn President Emeritus Martin Meyerson, Hon’70 (Almanac July 17, 2007). As an administrator, faculty member, volunteer and mentor, Mr. Meyerson was the consummate citizen of the University. Serving as Penn’s fifth president from 1970 to 1981, he drew upon his expertise as one of the nation’s preeminent city planners to articulate an integrated vision of “One University” in which all of Penn’s schools would collaborate to produce leading-edge teaching and research that benefited society.

Educated at Columbia and Harvard universities, Mr. Meyerson held over 20 honorary doctorates. His early academic appointments included serving as the Williams Professor at Harvard; director of the Harvard-MIT Joint Center for Urban Studies; dean and acting chancellor at the University of California, Berkeley; and president of the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Almanac - March 24, 2009, Volume 55, No. 26