Welcome from the Chair

Elena KramerWelcome to the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology! OEB is focused on understanding the natural world in all of its dimensions. Researchers in OEB study organisms that are drawn from every lineage of the tree of life at every level organization. We explore life’s diversity in an explicitly comparative context through the unifying lens of evolution. Our research areas include genetics, physiology, development, behavior, local to global ecosystems, and the use of empirical and theoretical frameworks.

OEB also encompasses a diverse group of affiliated institutions, including the Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ), Harvard University Herbarium (HUH), Harvard Forest (HF) and Arnold Arboretum (AA), which hold some of the finest and largest collections of natural history objects and living woody plants in the world. These collections offer unique and extraordinary opportunities for the discovery of biodiversity knowledge, from genomes to fossils, living organisms and ecosystems. Our faculty further participate in several centers and initiatives across the FAS, particularly the Harvard University Center for the Environment and Center for Brain Science. The breadth of these affiliations gives you some sense of the incredible diversity of research in OEB.

At the same time, we are deeply invested in training the next generation of leaders in academia, health professions, life science industry, and environmental stewardship. Our PhD program offers roughly 100 students unparalleled opportunities for research and career development, while our undergraduate concentration, Integrative Biology, prepares students for a wide range of life science careers (with an impressive number of course fieldtrips!). Our scientists and staff are equally diverse, joining us from around the country and the world. To support this community, we are committed to creating an academically and professionally enriching climate that is based on inclusivity, access and equity.

I hope that you enjoy exploring everything that OEB has to offer.


Elena M. Kramer