Last March, the 2013 Special Fellowship “in the footsteps of Marie Curie” was awarded to Professor Devi Stuart-Fox from the University of Melbourne. Launched in 2011, this Special Fellowship is awarded annually to a former International Fellow who, since receiving her fellowship 10 years ago, has demonstrated excellence and determination in the pursuit of her career in research.
In the ten years since Devi Stuart-Fox was awarded a UNESCO-L’Oréal For Women in Science International Fellowship, this brilliant evolutionary biologist has made groundbreaking discoveries and numerous contributions to understanding the role that colors play in animal communication. This year’s Special Fellow hopes that her work may one day help shed light on how the brain processes information coming from our senses.
Since her earliest childhood in Australia, Dr Devi Stuart-Fox has been captivated by the stunning array of hues and shades displayed in the fur, feathers and skins of the animal world. Visual pleasure, however, is not their primary purpose. Colors play a significant role in how species survive, adapt, evolve and split off--the very phenomenon which creates diversity—and in how animals communicate with one another.
Devi’s research has a two-fold purpose. The first is studying how and why the diversity of animal colors and behaviors evolved. The second is exploring animal cognition--how the brain reacts to information coming from the senses, such as color, and then commands the body to respond in the appropriate way. Her hope is that her work “will give people a greater appreciation of the wonders and richness of nature”.
To learn more, watch Devi Stuart-Fox’s interview in her lab at the University of Melbourne (Australia) on the For Women in Science Youtube Channel