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John C. Defries

John C. DeFries is a Professor of Psychology, Faculty Fellow and past Director (1981-2001) of the Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado at Boulder. After receiving a Ph.D. in Agriculture ( with specialty training in quantitative genetics) from the University of Illinois in 1961, DeFries served on the faculty of that institution fro six years. In 1962, he began research on mouse behavioral genetics and, the following year, was a Research Fellow in the Department of Genetics, University of California at Berkeley. Three years later, he joined the Institute for Behavioral Genetics, which Gerald E. McClearn established in 1967. Dr. DeFries and Steven G. Vandenberg founded the journal Behavior Genetics in 1970. Five years later, he and Robert Plomin founded the Colorado Adoption Project.

For three decades, Dr. DeFries has conducted research on the genetics of reading disabilities, and he has served as Director of the Colorado Learning Disabilities Research Center since 1990. He has co-authored eight books, including four editions of the standard textbook in the field, over 200 journal articles, and two edited books that are currently in press. DeFries served as president of the Behavior Genetics Association from 1982-83, receiving the Association's Theodosius Dobzhansky Award for Outstanding Research in 1992, and, in 1994, became a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (Section J, Psychology).

This year Dr. DeFries was chosen as the distinguished lecturer for the University of Colorado's lecture on research and creative work. This award includes an honorarium, and an academic year faculty fellowship or a grant-in-aid for the lecturer's research or creative work. Dr. Defries is the first professor chosen for this award from the Institute for Behavioral Genetics.