The Annual Margaret Savigear Lectures

Margaret Savigear Lectures 2021

Event details

Monday 8 March 2021
The Savigear Lectures and Q&A were held via Blackboard Collaborate.


The distinct yet occasionally interconnecting evolutionary trajectories of C4 and CAM photosynthesis in plants

Professor Erika Edwards, Yale University

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Integrating epidemiological and ecological modeling to inform disease control in Madagascar

Professor Jessica Metcalf, Princeton University

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The Margaret Savigear Lectures acknowledge the importance of role models to the next generation of scientists by explicitly increasing the visibility of women biologists and celebrates the importance of mentors.

The format is to invite inspirational female academics representing an early and a later career stage. This year we had two fantastic speakers: Professor Erika Edwards, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University and Professor Jessica Metcalf, Associate Professor of Ecology, Evolutionary Biology & Public Affairs, Princeton University.

Margaret Savigear received her BSc from what was then the Department of Zoology in 1939, and was awarded an MSc in 1949. Her pursuit of a postgraduate degree was unusual at the time and supported by the then Head of Department, Leonard ES Eastham.

In recognition of Professor Eastham's inspiration and mentoring, Mrs Savigear donated to the department to establish the Leonard Eastham prize for final year undergraduates to undertake a Zoology research project.

The lectures will were followed by a frank and illuminating Q&A session. This was a fantastic opportunity to ask the speakers about their research, career and get advice. Our aim with these events is to offer inspiring role models for our researchers, especially those early in their careers.


Professor Jessica Metcalf

Jessica Metcalf Savigear

Jessica Metcalf is a demographer with broad interests in evolutionary ecology, infectious disease dynamics and public policy. She completed her PhD at Imperial College and after several postdocs started at Princeton in 2014 as a joint appointment between the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the School of Public and International Affairs. She works on an array of health questions, with a particular focus on vaccination policy, combining public health surveillance data with novel data sources including mobile phone call data records and mechanistic models of infectious disease spread to characterise the intersection between human demography, behaviour and infectious disease.

Professor Erika Edwards

 Erika Edwards

Erika Edwards joined Yale in 2017 as Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She currently serves as Curator of Botany in the Peabody Museum of Natural History, as Director of Graduate Studies in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and as Director of Marsh Botanical Garden. Edwards earned her undergraduate degree from Stanford University (1998) and her Ph.D. from Yale University (2005). She spent two years as a post-doctoral research associate at University of California, Santa Barbara, and joined the faculty at Brown University in 2007. She remained at Brown for ten years (2007-2017) where she also served as Director of the Brown University Herbarium (2008-2017). Edwards has served as Advisory Council Chair for the Botanical Society of America (2016-2019), and as President of the Society of Systematic Biologists (2020). In 2016 Edwards received the Presidential Award for Early Career Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from President Obama.  Her research focuses on various problems in plant evolution, and integrates across many types of biological data, from molecules to global climate, to build a complete picture of how and why plants have evolved such a diverse array of forms. 

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