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In Memoriam: Joseph B. Slowinski


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Posted by Travis on September 13, 2001 at 13:30:16:

Joe Slowinski, Curator of Herpetology at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, died on September 11th, 2001, from the bite of a Krait in the mountains of northern Myanmar (Burma). Born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1964, Joe received his Bachelor's Degree from the University of Kansas in 1984, and was awarded his Doctoral Degree from the University of Miami (Coral Gables) in 1991, working under his major professor, Jay Savage. Other academic appointments included a Postdoctoral Fellow (morphological systematics of elapid snakes), National Museum of Natural History (1991-92); Postdoctoral Research Associate (molecular systematics of elapid snakes), Museum of Natural Science, Louisiana State University (1992-94); Instructor of Biology, Louisiana State University (1994-96); Instructor of Biology, Southeastern Louisiana University (1996-97); His principal research interests were herpetology (especially venomous snakes), molecular evolution, and phylogenetic analysis. He authored numerous scientific articles as well as one book, Introduction to Genetics, published in 1998 by NTC. He was editor-in-chief and co-founder (in 1997) of the first online herpetological journal, Contemporary Herpetology, and a member of the editorial board of Systematic Biology. Prior to his death, he was collaborating with Robin Lawson, Director of the Academy's Osher Laboratory, on several studies of the molecular phylogenetics of snakes, incorporating both mitochondrial and nuclear genes. He was conducting (with George Zug) a comprehensive survey of the herpetofauna of Myanmar. In addition, Joe was part of a large project involving a number of other Academy scientists and several institutions in Yunnan, China, to survey the biodiversity of the western part of the Yunnan Province, specifically a mountain range known as the Gaoligongshan. Joe had previously taped two National Geographic specials (during which, he received a dry bite from a monocled cobra and had venom streamed into his eyes by a new species of spitting cobra that he ultimately described). Joe had recently been awarded a two million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation, to extend his work across the Myanmar border, into China. CNAH expresses its sympathy and support to the family and friends of Joe Slowinski. Our young and well established colleague will be missed by all of the herpetological community.

Joseph B. Slowinski
1964-2001



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