Mohamed Noor

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Mohamed A. F. Noor
Noor in 2019
EducationB.S., Biology
Ph.D., Ecology and Evolution
Alma materCollege of William & Mary
University of Chicago
Known forEvolutionary genetics research
Online course in Coursera
Science outreach
AwardsDarwin–Wallace Medal
Stephen J. Gould Prize[1]
NCSE Friend of Darwin Award (2021)[2]
Scientific career
FieldsEvolutionary biology
InstitutionsDuke University
ThesisThe evolution of mating discrimination between Drosophila pseudoobscura and D. persimilis (1996)
Doctoral advisorsJerry Coyne

Mohamed Noor is the Interim Vice Provost for Academic Affairs[3] and a Professor in the Biology Department at Duke University (formerly holding the rotating titles of Earl D. McLean Professor,[4] department chair, dean of natural sciences,[5] and Interim Dean of Arts & Sciences[6]). His specialties include evolution, genetics and genomics.

Noor has a BS from the College of William and Mary in 1992 and a PhD from University of Chicago (1996), together with a postdoctoral residency at Cornell University (1996–1998). He specializes in Drosophila evolution. His team's research approaches have included both classical genetic mapping, as well as analyses of whole genome sequences.[7]

Likewise, Noor was one of the first scientists to demonstrate by experiment speciation by reinforcement, that is, as a result of natural selection mating preferences diverge against deleterious hybridization and reduce gene flow between species. He is also known for developing (along with others) a model wherein regions of restricted recombination, as by chromosomal inversions, facilitate the persistence of hybridizing species.[8]

Later, his research team has focused on understanding variation in recombination rate within and between species, and its impact on DNA sequence variation.

In 2008, he was awarded the Darwin-Wallace Medal from the Linnean Society of London.[9]

In 2021, he was awarded a Friend of Darwin award by the National Center for Science Education.[10]

He served as editor-in-chief of the international journal Evolution (2016-2019), is or was associate editor for several other journals, and the author of over 100 publications. He has served as president of the American Genetic Association (2012) and Society for the Study of Evolution (2014) and as a board member for the Genetics Society of America.

Noor has been active in education and outreach, receiving numerous teaching and mentoring awards from his institution,[11][12] and teaching an online course in genetics and evolution. He and his group have also developed laboratory activities for implementation in high schools and colleges, including a commercial kit for observing natural selection in Drosophila. He published a book that uses Star Trek to teach principles in genetics and evolution,[13] and gives classes and talks at various venues using science fiction to teach science.[14] On the side, he also serves as a science consultant for the Star Trek television franchise.[15]

Recent scientific publications[edit]

  1. Korunes, K. L., C. A. Machado, and M. A. F. Noor. 2021. Inversions shape the divergence of Drosophila pseudoobscura and D. persimilis on multiple timescales. Evolution, 75: 1820-1834. abs.
  2. Samuk, K., B. Manzano-Winkler, K. R. Ritz, and M. A. F. Noor. 2020. Natural selection shapes variation in genome-wide recombination rate in Drosophila pseudoobscura. Current Biology, 30: 1517-1528. abs.
  3. Korunes, K. L., and M. A. F. Noor. 2017. Gene conversion and linkage: Effects on genome evolution and speciation. Molecular Ecology, 26: 351-364. doi:10.1111/mec.13736. abs

Popular publications[edit]

  • Noor, Mohamed A. F. (2012). You're Hired! Now What? A Guide for New Science Faculty. Sunderland, Mass.: Sinauer Associates. ISBN 9780878939633.
  • Noor, Mohamed A. F. (2018). Live Long and Evolve: What Star Trek Can Teach Us about Evolution, Genetics, and Life on Other Worlds. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691177410.


  1. ^ (link) awarded annually by the Society for the Study of Evolution to recognize individuals whose sustained and exemplary efforts have advanced public understanding of evolutionary science and its importance in biology, education, and everyday life in the spirit of Stephen Jay Gould, retrieved 23 December 2019
  2. ^ "Friend of Darwin and Friend of the Planet awards for 2021 | National Center for Science Education".
  3. ^ Duke Today, "Noor and Oates to Serve in Interim Vice Provost Roles", retrieved 1 February 2023
  4. ^ Duke Today, "Duke Honors Distinguished Professors", retrieved 21 July 2018
  5. ^ Duke Today, "Mohamed Noor named Trinity College dean of natural sciences", retrieved 21 August 2022
  6. ^ Duke Today, "Mohamed Noor named Interim Dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences", retrieved 21 August 2022
  7. ^ Scudellari, Megan, "Burgers and Flies", The Scientist, 1 May 2012, retrieved 21 July 2018
  8. ^ Bates, Karl, "Descended from Darwin", Duke Magazine, 1 April 2009, retrieved 23 December 2019
  9. ^ Duke Today, "Duke Biologist Wins Darwin-Wallace Medal", retrieved 21 July 2018
  10. ^ Branch, Glenn. "Friend of Darwin and Friend of the Planet awards for 2021". National Center for Science Education. Archived from the original on 28 July 2021. Retrieved 28 July 2021.
  11. ^ Duke University Graduate School, "2010 Dean's Award: Mohamed Noor" Archived 2015-07-13 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 21 July 2018
  12. ^ Duke Today, "Mohamed Noor: 'What Matters To Me and Why'", retrieved 21 July 2018
  13. ^ Noor, M. A. F. 2018. Live Long and Evolve: What Star Trek Can Teach Us about Evolution, Genetics, and Life on Other Worlds. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey. ISBN 978-0691177410, 208 pages.
  14. ^ StarTrek.COM, "Meet the College Professor Teaching 'Trek' to Millennials", retrieved 23 December 2019
  15. ^ IMDb listing, [1], retrieved 17 October 2020

External links[edit]