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Beth Shapiro, BS/MS ’99, named one of UGA Alumni Association’s Forty Under Forty

Beth Shapiro, who received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in ecology from the University of Georgia in 1999, has been honored by the UGA Alumni Association as one of its “40 Under Forty” for 2011.

Shapiro, who graduated summa cum laude with highest honors from UGA, is the Shaffer Career Development Associate Professor of Biology at The Pennsylvania State University. Her research focuses on evolutionary and ecological questions related to population genetics. Her research includes the study of ancient DNA from fossil remains; exploring the evolution of viruses; and investigating patterns and processes in molecular evolution. She has taught courses in biodiversity, bioinformatics, virus evolution and molecular epidemiology, ethics in genetics, and biomolecular evolution at Penn State and Oxford University, where she served as director of the Henry Wellcome Ancient Biomolecules Centre from 2004-2007.

Shapiro’s many honors include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, Rhodes Scholarship, Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship, Royal Society University Fellowship, and Packard Fellowship. She was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and received the Blue Key Honor Society’s UGA Young Alumnus Award in 2010. She has over 60 publications, including several book chapters as well as articles in journals such as Science, Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, Molecular Biology and Evolution, and PLoS Biology.

"An important goal for all of our students is to graduate with a deep understanding for interdisciplinary work,” said John Gittleman, dean of the UGA Odum School of Ecology. “Although Dr. Shapiro graduated before the Odum School was created, she certainly exemplifies the aspirational student we want. It is an honor for the Odum School that Dr. Shapiro is recognized by UGA for her groundbreaking work in ecology."

The UGA Alumni Association’s annual “40 Under Forty” honors alumni who have made an impact in business, leadership, community, educational and/or philanthropic endeavors and who have demonstrated dedication to UGA and its missions of teaching, research, and service.


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Development and Alumni Relations Coordinator
Allison Walters
(706) 542-6007