KLI Colloquia are informal, public talks that are followed by extensive dissussions. Speakers are KLI fellows or visiting researchers who are interested in presenting their work to an interdisciplinary audience and discussing it in a wider research context. We offer three types of talks:

1. Current Research Talks. KLI fellows or visiting researchers present and discuss their most recent research with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

2. Future Research Talks. Visiting researchers present and discuss future projects and ideas togehter with the KLI fellows and the Vienna scientific community.

3. Professional Developmental Talks. Experts about research grants and applications at the Austrian and European levels present career opportunities and strategies to late-PhD and post-doctoral researchers.

  • The presentation language is English.
  • If you are interested in presenting your current or future work at the KLI, please contact the Scientific Director or the Executive Manager.

Event Details

Benedikt Hallgrimsson
KLI Colloquia
The Conceptual Foundations of Evolution and Development
Benedikt HALLGRIMSSON (University of Calgary)
2023-06-22 15:00 - 2023-06-22 16:30
Organized by KLI
You are invited to a Zoom meeting. 
When: Jun 22, 2023 03:00 PM Vienna 
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Topic description / abstract:
Evolutionary developmental biology is often described as a new field that arose in the 1970s and early 1980s due to a realization within evolutionary biology that considerations of development had been excluded from the conceptual framework of the modern synthesis. While there is some truth in this, reality is much more complicated. For one, thinking about the relationship between development and evolution did not stop with the modern synthesis and, in fact, foundational work to evolutionary developmental biology was produced during this time.  Secondly, much, even the majority, of work currently produced under the banner of evo-devo or evolutionary developmental biology does not actually address the ways in which development informs evolutionary explanation. Rather, it deals with comparative analyses of development-genetic pathways or mechanisms. I argue that both phenomena have occurred because there is not a good understand of what evolutionary developmental biology is about or what its central question or questions are.  Instead the field has emerged is more a social construct than a conceptual one.  But what is the conceptual core of this field?  This is the question that my project at the KLI has sought to address.  In this talk, I will argue for the need to define a conceptual framework for evolutionary developmental biology.  I will also discuss the organization of the key concepts and how they relate to neighbouring fields outside of evolutionary biology such as genetics and the biomedical sciences.
Biographical note:
Benedikt Hallgrimsson is an international leader in the quantitative analysis of anatomical variation. His work focuses on structural birth defects and the developmental genetics of complex traits as well as the conceptual foundations of evolutionary developmental biology. He integrates 3D imaging and morphometry with genetics and developmental biology. He was awarded the Rohlf Medal for Excellence in Morphometrics in 2015 and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (2020). He has published >170 journal articles, 32 chapters, three edited volumes, and a textbook. Hallgrimsson has held leadership roles at the University of Calgary where he led creation of the Bachelor of Health Sciences and co-led the successful proposal to create a Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.  He is currently Deputy Director for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and ­Head of the Department of Cell Biology & Anatomy.