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Royal Society recognizes SFU biologist

September 23, 2010

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Bernard Crespi, renowned globally for his experimental and theoretical contributions to evolutionary biology, is SFU’s 40th scholar to
be named a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC).

Crespi’s election to the RSC Academy of Science’s division of life sciences recognizes his contributions to understanding the evolution of social behaviour in many fields of evolutionary biology.

An SFU Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Research Group member, Crespi integrates genetic, ecological and evolutionary development research to study social evolution across all levels in the hierarchy of life, from genes to the human brain.

His research has led to fundamental new insights into how and when social cooperation and different reproductive strategies evolve, and how human evolutionary history has influenced the causes of diseases.

In the last two years, his work has shaken the theoretical foundations of how mental disorders are understood. He has proposed and tested the hypothesis that autism and schizophrenia are opposite disorders, with risks directly influenced by changes to genes underlying human social evolution.

His analysis of all the genetic and genomic data available on both disorders has proven that a mother’s genetic makeup is associated with schizophrenia, while a father’s predicts autism.

Crespi has given more than 100 invited talks about his work, worldwide, and has published more than 100 articles in premier scientific journals. He will be inducted into the RSC at a ceremony Nov. 27 in Ottawa.

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