June 22, 1999


LAWRENCE - University of Kansas graduate David H. Hillis today won a prestigious $295,000 MacArthur Fellowship.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation awarded 31 new MacArthur Fellowships to 32 individuals today. Each will receive five years of unrestricted, "no strings attached" support to use as they see fit.

Hillis, 40, earned a master's degree in biology in 1983, a master's degree in public health in 1984 and a doctorate in biology in 1985 at KU. A molecular biologist, Hillis has developed new molecular genetic analyses that contribute to the understanding of the history of life on earth. He has shown that the relationships among species can be inferred from small differences in their DNA sequences, revealing both the order and timing of evolutionary processes.

Hillis has written extensively and serves as a reviewer for over 50 journals in diverse areas, including Marine Mammal Science, The Journal of Virology, The Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, Science, Genetics and Nature. Hillis lives in Austin, Texas where he is presently a professor of zoology at the University of Texas.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, with assets of over $4 billion, is a private, independent grantmaking institution dedicated to helping groups and individuals foster lasting improvement in the human condition. The foundation supports research, policy development, dissemination, education and training, and practice.

All new MacArthur Fellows will receive stipends ranging from $200,000 to $375,000 over five years, depending on the age of the recipient. Fellows are also offered health coverage.

"We look everywhere for the most exciting among us and give them a chance to follow their best instincts over an extended period of time," said Daniel J. Socolow, MacArthur Fellows program director. "There is something magical about it all. No one can apply for a MacArthur Fellowship. New fellows get one phone call out of the blue in June, and five years of opportunity."

A total of 563 MacArthur Fellows have been named since the program began in 1981. They have ranged in age from 18 to 82. Among the new fellows announced today are a chemist assisting ordinary citizens to combat toxic chemicals in their Louisiana communities; a physicist making major advances in quantum computing and an artist/curator mining museum archives for forgotten objects.

Contact Todd Cohen, University Relations, (785)-864-8858 or tcohen@ukans.edu


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