Scott F. Gilbert
Professor of Biology (emeritus)
Scott Frederick Gilbert (born 1949) is the author of the textbook "Developmental Biology" (first edition, 1985, and now in its eleventh edition, 2016) and has also co-authored (with David Epel) the textbook Ecological Developmental Biology (2009, 2015). He has been credited with helping initiate evolutionary developmental biology and ecological developmental biology as new biological disciplines.
Gilbert's early biological research includes documenting the first pyrimidine-initiated RNA transcripts, elucidating the mechanisms by which antibodies inactivate poliovirus, and studying the roles of paracrine factors in kidney and lung branching. After co-authoring an early paper in evolutionary developmental biology, he inaugurated a project on the development of turtle shells. With collaborator Judith Cebra-Thomas, Gilbert elucidated the roles of several paracrine factors involved in carapace formation and made the unexpected conclusion that the plastron was derived from trunk neural crest cells. The latter studies led to the hypothesis that the turtle evolved by respecifying its cell types. His most recent studies concern the development of the holobiont and the importance of plasticity and symbiotic microbes during normal animal development. He has argued that the holobiont is an important unit of evolutionary selection.
Gilbert's research in the history and philosophy of biology concerns the interactions of genetics and embryology; feminist critiques of biology; Antireductionism; the formation of biological disciplines; and Bioethics. Some of these studies have documented the origins of the gene theory from embryological controversies, the formation of molecular biology and biochemistry as separate disciplines, the importance of feminist critique as a normative control in cell and developmental biology, and the importance of the environment in phenotype production. His work in the interactions of biology and religion have included extensive analysis of wonder, as well as studies of when different groups of biologists claim that individual human life begins. He has identified (with Ziony Zevit) the bone from which Eve was generated, analyzed embryonic imagery in the art of Gustav Klimt, Diego Rivera, and Frida Kahlo, and has provided one of the first analyses of nerd humor.
His biology textbooks have been experiments in the interactions between biology and its social critiques.
- Gilbert, Scott F. (1st ed. 1985; 11th ed. 2016). Developmental Biology. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates. ISBN 0878932461.
- Gilbert, Scott F., ed. (1991). Conceptual History of Modern Embryology. New York, NY: Plenum. ISBN 0306438429.
- Gilbert, Scott F.; Raunio, Anne M., eds. (1997). Embryology: Constructing The Organism. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates. ISBN 0878932372.
- Gilbert, Scott F., Tyler, Anna L., & Zackin, Emily J. (2005). Bioethics and the New Embryology: Springboards for Debate. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates. ISBN 0716773457.
- Gilbert, Scott F. & Epel, David (2009). Ecological Developmental Biology: Integrating Epigenetics, Medicine, and Evolution. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates. ISBN 9780878932993.
- Gilbert, Scott F. & Epel, David (2015). Ecological Developmental Biology: The Environmental Regulation of Development, Health, and Evolution. Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates. ISBN 9781605353449.
- Gilbert, S. F. and Pinto-Correia, C. (2017). Fear, Wonder, and Science in the New Age of Reproductive Biotechnology. Columbia University Press, NY. ISBN 9780231544580