Michael Coates, PhD

Mike Coates appointed as OBA Chair

Dr. Coates, a Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, named Department Chair effective July 1, 2022

We are pleased to recognize the appointment of Michael I. Coates, PhD, Professor of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, as chair of the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, effective July 1, 2022.

Dr. Coates is a paleontologist whose research focuses on early vertebrate diversity and evolution, the reconstruction of evolutionary patterns and processes, and uses of fossils and systematic methods in evolutionary developmental biology. His lab is interested in the origin and early radiation of tetrapods, the fin-to-limb evolutionary transition, and the early evolution of modern fish groups, both jawed and jawless. This work integrates traditional fossil research techniques with genetic sequence data and new imaging and visualization technologies, including CT scanning and 3D printing.

Dr. Coates earned his PhD in vertebrate paleontology from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1988, followed by postdoctoral and senior research fellowships at the University of Cambridge and appointment as Reader in Vertebrate Zoology at University College London. He joined UChicago faculty in 2001 and served as chair of the Committee on Evolutionary Biology from 2008 through May of this year, developing its scholarly community of several Chicago-area affiliate scientific institutions while fostering the careers of numerous students through its unique, multidisciplinary, collaborative intellectual environment. Dr. Coates was co-founder and co-editor of the journal Evolution & Development, and is a scientific research associate of the Field Museum, Chicago, and the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh.

As chair of the department, Dr. Coates will follow Robert K. Ho, PhD, who has chaired the Department since 2008. Dr. Ho plans to return to full time research and education activities, both within his own laboratory and with colleagues across the BSD.  Please join us in expressing our thanks to Dr. Ho for his leadership of the Department over these past 14 years, and in congratulating Dr. Coates on his new role.