ID 3.0 Research Program

Discovery Institute’s Science Research Program entails a vibrant community of scientists and scholars who are conducting scientific research to investigate the evidence for design in nature, and also research that critically investigates the ability of material mechanisms to account for the complexity of nature. Much of this research is directly funded by Discovery Institute, while other research is conducted by a network of ID-friendly scientists that Discovery Institute actively collaborates with and sustains.

20+ Active Research Projects250+ Peer-Reviewed Papers$10+ million total budget since 2016

ID 3.0 Research

Intelligent design is a potent scientific theory which makes testable predictions that are being actively investigated by researchers worldwide. The ID 3.0 research program comprises this community of scientists who have collaborated to publish peer-reviewed scientific papers related to the evidence for design in prominent journals, including NatureACS NanoACS Applied Materials & InterfacesNature NanotechnologyJournal of BacteriologyScientific ReportsFrontiers in MicrobiologyFrontiers in GeneticsAnnual Review of Genomics and Human GeneticsBiosystemsBMC Evolutionary BiologyBMC GenomicsMolecular Biology and EvolutionBIO-ComplexitySpringer Proceedings in Mathematics and StatisticsPLOS OneJournal of Theoretical Biology, and a book with Cambridge University Press, among other technical outlets.

ID research has gone through multiple phases, roughly described below. 

ID 1.0 (1984-1999)

This first phase of ID research developed basic theories of design detection via information, including concepts like irreducible complexity, specified complexity, and the explanatory filter.

  • Books include The Mystery of Life’s OriginsDarwin’s Black Box, and The Design Inference.
ID 2.0 (2000-2015)

The second phase of ID research began to experimentally apply the methods of design-detection developed in ID 1.0 to real-world systems. The focus was studying protein evolvability, while theorists furthered the positive case for design by showing the superior explanatory ability of design via inferences to the best explanation. ID-oriented labs also emerged such as Biologic Institute and Evolutionary Informatics Lab. The latter made important theoretical progress showing that new complex and specified information can only be produced by intelligent agency. 

  • Over 75 peer-reviewed publications in journals such as Protein ScienceJournal of Molecular BiologyTheoretical Biology and Medical ModellingBIO-ComplexityJournal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent InformaticsComplexityQuarterly Review of BiologyRivista di Biologia / Biology ForumPhysics of Life Reviews, and Annual Review of Genetics.
ID 3.0 (2016-present)

The third and current phase of ID research extends ID 2.0 to new systems and fields, showing the heuristic value of intelligent design to guide scientific research. This research includes not only testing the origin of new systems, but also using ID to answer questions and make novel contributions in burgeoning fields, such as epigenetics, synthetic biology, systems biology, genomics (e.g., investigating function for junk DNA), systematics and phylogenetics, information theory, population genetics, biological fine-tuning, molecular machines, ontogenetic information, paleontology, quantum cosmology, cosmic fine-tuning, astrobiology, local fine-tuning, and many others.

Under ID 3.0 there is a special emphasis on unexpected features of the genome which reveal new layers of biological information and control. In addition to interpreting pre-existing data within an ID framework, we are generating new data and asking questions that ID prompts — and potentially answers.

  • Over 100 ID 3.0-related peer-reviewed papers published since 2016 in journals such as Journal of Bacteriology, Systems Engineering, BIO-Complexity, PLOS One, Biomimetics, Journal of Organic Chemistry, Science Advances, ACS Omega, EC Pharmacology and Toxicology, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, ACS Nano, Nature, Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, Journal of Theoretical Biology

As seen in the examples listed above, ID inspires new avenues of scientific research, and ID proponents do scientific research and have published hundreds of peer-reviewed scientific papers relevant to the evidence for design. The breadth and potency of ID research illustrates the fact that it can be divided into two general types — pure and applied.

Pure Intelligent Design Research

Having shown that many features of nature were designed, pure ID research allows us to make the reasonable conclusion that design is a useful model for understanding the natural world. This confidence in design theory allows us to then further assume design is prevalent, and based upon this assumption, apply design reasoning to explore new systems in the natural world.

Pure ID research asks how we can detect design, and/or investigates natural systems to determine whether design is the best explanation for the features we observe. Essentially, pure ID research aims to refine and employ design-detection methods to determine if a design inference is warranted for a given system or phenomenon we find in nature. Pure ID research has determined that many aspects of life, planet Earth, the solar system, the galaxy, and the universe display evidence of design. This kind of research might also involve critiquing naturalistic explanations as part of making a case for design.

Applied Intelligent Design Research

Applied ID research uses the assumption of design to better understand how natural systems work. A few examples will help illustrate what this means:

  • Having shown that the genome is rich in complex and specified information, we might now assume that design is prevalent throughout the genome. This allows us to ask further questions, like whether the poorly understood “dark matter” of the genome (often called “junk DNA”) might have important functions. Applied ID research is now predicting and discovering function for so-called “junk DNA.”
  • Having shown that organisms are integrated wholes that exhibit a form of designed irreducible complexity on the macroscale, we might then assume that design-based engineering principles were used throughout the blueprints of life. The assumption then opens up many new avenues of investigation into the operation of biological systems. For example, we might adopt a skeptical mindset towards claims that the human skeletal system is “poorly designed,” and upon critically investigate those claims we discover new functions and reasons for the bones and joints that we have. Or, we might apply lessons learned from human technology to ask whether circuit control mechanisms from electrical engineering can help explain features of biology, such as gene regulation, cell-communication, or patterns of blood flow in the brain. Even evolutionary concepts such as adaptation may turn out to follow engineering principles where systems are preprogrammed to respond to inputs within designed tolerance limits. 

Applied ID research is thus making progress to help us better understand the workings of biological systems by applying the assumption of design to our investigations of the operations of nature. 

A depiction of lactic acid bacteria, a type of probiotic important for health

Highlights

Below we highlight a partial list of ID 3.0 projects, researchers, as well as papers produced by those projects. Some ID 3.0 projects and researchers are not listed to protect the investigators from threats to their careers if it were publicly known they were doing ID-related research. Some papers for some projects are not listed for the same reasons. For a more complete list of peer-reviewed scientific paper supporting intelligent design, see Peer Reviewed Articles Supporting Intelligent Design

Bacterial Adaptation

Bacteria have short generation times and large population sizes, making them an ideal test case for the creative power of evolutionary mechanisms. This project, which spans multiple sub-projects, is testing the evolvability of new features in bacteria and other microorganisms through laboratory experiments and digital simulations. One project led by biologists Ann Gauger and Ralph Seelke (late professor of Biology and Earth Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Superior) broke a gene in the bacterium E. coli required for synthesizing the amino acid tryptophan. When the bacteria’s genome was broken in just one place, random mutations were capable of “fixing” the gene. But when just two mutations were required to restore function, Darwinian evolution became stuck, unable to restore the full function. Another project by Michael Behe reviewed numerous published examples of Darwinian evolution in bacteria and viruses, and found that adaptations at the molecular level “are due to the loss or modification of a pre-existing molecular function,” showing that evolutionary mechanisms are far better at breaking features than building new ones. This principle was confirmed by another ID 3.0 project, published in the Journal of Bacteriology by Dusty van Hofwegen and Scott Minnich, which tested a widely touted bacterial innovation of Richard Lenski’s “Long-Term Evolution Experiment,” and found it actually involved “no new genetic information (novel gene function).” Theoretical simulations confirm the inability of Darwinian mechanisms to produce new features. Douglas Axe has developed a simulation called Stylus, which not only models the evolution of new proteins (see the Protein Zoo project below), but also modeled the “long-term evolution” of a population of 1000 “digital organisms,” and found that over time they experienced “genome decay” — suggesting some factor must be inputting information to allow species to persist and evolve. 

Selected Publications

Brain Blood Flow

Every time your heart beats it pulses blood into your brain. But if these pulses of blood flow aren’t carefully controlled, they would burst the fragile, tightly organized capillaries throughout the brain. Applying the assumption that the brain is a “designed system,” Michael Egnor, a pediatric neurosurgeon and professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at Stony Brook University, has sought to understand how our physiology allows blood to flow smoothly into and through the brain (Egnor 2019). By carefully measuring blood flow, Egnor and his team have found that brain capillary blood flow is controlled by a band stop filter, and cerebrospinal fluid flow is controlled by a band pass filter — revealing intelligent design in the brain. They have published papers in BIO-Complexity and the Journal of Neurosurgery Pediatrics, with ongoing work analyzing the data to assess the model of brain blood flow control. 

Papers

Cancer and Bacteria-Killing Nanomachines

One of the largest and most successful ID 3.0 research project focuses on nanomachines and is led by one of the world’s top organic chemists, Prof. James Tour at Rice University, as well as top collaborator Richard Gunasekera, a biologist who has worked with the University of Houston, Rice University, and now Biola University. Tour’s project initially designed miniature nanocars — 50,000 of which could fit on the width of a human hair — as a way of demonstrating new techniques for creating nanomachinery. While designing these machines Tour developed a novel critique of chemical evolutionary theory. Tour showed that designing even relatively simple nanomachines required a complex series of chemical manipulations and a well-choreographed chemical procedure. Since the design of his nanomachines required intelligent intervention at every stage, he argues that the origin of life, and the much more complex molecular machinery required for it, cannot currently be plausibly explained by undirected chemical processes alone. 

Tour subsequently applied the techniques he had developed in the design of his nanocars to design another molecular machine — a “nano-augur” or “nanodrill” — that has demonstrated the capacity to destroy malignant cancer cells and antibiotic resistant bacteria. On a parallel track, Professor Richard Gunasekera has been demonstrating the efficacy of these same nanodrills in destroying antibiotic resistant bacteria in his new lab at Biola University where he has recently moved, along with one of Tour’s former post-docs. Tour, Gunasekera, and their postdocs have published many scientific articles on the capabilities of their nanomachines in NatureAmerican Chemical Society (ACS) Nano, and Nature Nanotechnology Gunasekera and his team are demonstrating the ability of the nanodrills to destroy bacteria and viruses, while Tour and his team will continue to develop revolutionary applications of the nanodrills for the treatment of cancer.

Selected Publications

Design Detection

Design detection is fundamental to the theory of intelligent design, and it seeks to understand and identify the logical principles that we humans intuitively use when recognizing something was designed. This largely theoretical project arguably began in 1998 when William Dembski published his foundational peer-reviewed book with Cambridge University Press, The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance Through Small Probabilities,first outlining how concepts such as the explanatory filter and complex and specified information (CSI) can help us to detect design (Dembski, 1998). Dembski’s follow-up work incorporated “No Free Lunch” theorems and developed the Law of Conservation of Information, which hold that blind evolutionary mechanisms can shuffle CSI around, but only intelligence can generate truly novel CSI (Dembski, 2001). According to these principles, information is conserved such that “on average no search outperforms any other” (Dembski and Marks, 2009) — meaning that even Darwinian evolution is really no better than a random search (Dembski et al. 2010; Ewert et al. 2013b). This work further shows that unless “active information” is inputted by an intelligent agent to improve a search, it’s effectively going to perform no better than random guessing. These researchers have applied their methodology to multiple would-be computer simulations of evolution which have been claimed to produce new information via unguided evolutionary mechanisms. In each case, their methodology identified where the programmers smuggled in “active information” to make the simulation program work (Dembski and Marks 2009a; Ewert et al. 2009; Ewert et al. 2010; Ewert et al. 2012b; Ewert et al. 2012a; Ewert et al. 2013a; Ewert 2014). Additional work has developed new ways to measuring information and detect design, such as algorithmic specified complexity as an improved method of quantifying specification, which measures specification as a function of description length (Ewert et al. 2013; Ewert et al. 2015a; Ewert et al. 2015b; Dembski and Ewert 2023). This project’s work is ongoing, but it has already demonstrated strong theoretical grounds to understand why only intelligence can produce new complex and specified information.

Selected Publications

Design and Systematics

Intelligent design is not necessarily incompatible with common ancestry, but it may suggest non-materialistic possibilities could lead to new insights into systematics, the study of how organisms are related. This project is exploring whether dependency graphs can better explain how organisms are related compared to nested hierarchies, which are predicted by common ancestry. Dependency graphs allow the idea of “common design” to be applied to systematics, where organisms share similar traits not necessarily because they were inherited from a common ancestor but because they were designed using similar blueprints. When organisms that are “distantly related” nonetheless share similar parts or genetic modules, common design might be a superior explanation to common descent. Various papers produced by this project are exploring the use of dependency graphs to test the idea of common design against common ancestry.

Selected Publications

Human Origins

A major area where evolution interfaces with traditional beliefs is human origins. For example, evolutionists have claimed that human genetic diversity is so great that humanity could never have derived from an initial pair of two individuals, but instead evolved from a population of thousands. They have also claimed that humans are not exceptional and have no biological or cognitive features that distinguish them from other animals. The Human Origins project is testing these claims. A rigorous population genetics model, developed by mathematician Ola Hössjer and geneticist Ann Gauger, was applied to a database of thousands of sequenced human genomes. The results showed that it was indeed possible for humanity to have originated from some original pair. Another aspect of this project is comparing humans and chimps to determine what distinguishes the two species.

Selected Publications

Engineering Research Group

The Engineering Research Group (ERG) is a consortium of over 100 engineers and biologists who are working together under the assumption that viewing biological systems are engineered can help us to better understand how biological systems operate. The ERGs goals are (1) apply engineering principles to better understand biological systems, (2) craft a design-based theoretical framework that explains and predicts the behaviors of living systems, and (3) develop research programs that demonstrate the engineering principles at work in living systems. Workgroups and researchers within this project are looking at topics such as Mechanisms of Adaptation, Viral Origins, Modeling Biochemical Pathways and Molecular Machines, Biomimetics, Biological Signaling, and the Origin of Life. One key participant in this project is Bristol University engineering professor Stuart Burgess, who has critically investigated claims of poor-design in the human body and shown the accusations are false. The group hosts a bi-annual Conference on Engineering in Living Systems (CELS) where participants convene to present their ideas and results. 

Selected Publications

Flagellar Evolution

The bacterial flagellum is a prime example of a complex molecular machine which seemingly challenges step-by-step Darwinian models of evolution. The flagellar evolution project seeks to investigate bacterial flagellar proteins to determine if homologues exist in other biological systems. This has the potential to test the co-option argument which claims that flagellar proteins were borrowed or “co-opted” from these other systems. Another important aspect of this project is directly testing for irreducible complexity of the flagellum through genetic knockout experiments. Dustin Van Hofwegen, Assistant Professor of Biology & Biochemistry at University of Northwestern, St. Paul, is doing genetic knockout experiments on the flagellum to determine what genes compose its irreducibly complex core.

Junk DNA Workgroup

Evolutionary scientists have long-claimed that the vast majority of our DNA which does not code for proteins is useless genetic “junk.” Intelligent design theorists, on the other hand, have long-predicted that much of this non-protein-coding DNA likely has important biological functions. This prediction flows naturally out of the fact that intelligent agents typically design things with function and for a purpose. Because of this ID prediction, quite a few ID proponents have been involved in research investigating function for non-protein-coding DNA—what was previously considered “junk.” Many of these scientists are part of our Junk DNA Workgroup, a collaboration of scientists who are seeking function for “junk DNA.” Many of these researchers are in sensitive positions so we do not list their names or publications. 

Selected Publications

  • Richard Sternberg, “On the Roles of Repetitive DNA Elements in the Context of a Unified Genomic- Epigenetic System,” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 981: 154-188 (2002).
  • Richard Sternberg and James A. Shapiro, “How repeated retroelements format genome function,” Cytogenetic and Genome Research, 110: 108-116 (2005).
Mind-Body Workgroup

The mind-body workgroup is a team of scientists and scholars brought together by Discovery Institute’s Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence who have expertise in issues related to brain function, consciousness, and philosophy of mind. In 2023 they produced a technical volume, Minding the Brain: Models of the Mind, Information, and Empirical Science, edited by philosopher Angus Menuge, computer scientist Robert Marks, and software engineer Brian Krouse. Their ongoing work is evaluating whether the mind can be reduced to the brain or whether consciousness can exist apart from the brain. 

Orphan Genes

Evolutionists had long believed that most genes originated from ancestral genes duplicating and then evolving into new genes with new functions. Genes originating from random DNA sequences was considered too difficult due to the rarity of functional proteins and to other challenges. However, over the past few decades geneticists have identified large numbers of genes which have no discernable similarity to any identified genes outside of a particular genus or even species. These taxonomically restricted or orphan genes can often make up more than 10% of genes in a given species, and they are believed to have originated de novo from random sequences of DNA. This abundance of orphans poses an enormous challenge to undirected evolutionary models, since it implies that large amounts of new genetic information constantly appeared throughout life in very short amounts of time. (Orphan genes are sometimes called ORFan genes, alluding to the term ORF which refers to an “Open Reading Frame” which defines a gene.) A team of scientists and computer programmers headed by Richard Gunasekera and Paul Nelson are developing a web-based tool known as ORFanID which will allow researchers to directly enter new gene sequences and graphically display which other species or higher groups possess the identified gene. This tool will accelerate the identification of orphan genes, and it will help determine their distribution in different animal groups.

Selected Publications

Plants and Cancer

If life was designed, could some species be specially designed to provide medical benefits to humans? Richard Gunasekera, Research Professor of Science, Technology and Health at Biola University, has predicted that plants will have special molecules that are designed to fight cancer. Evolution has no reason to expect this, but under a design-based view of biology, it makes perfect sense. He has developed techniques to screen plant samples for the relevant biomolecules and test their efficacy in targeting cancer cell lines. This research is currently in early phases.

Protein Origins and “Protein Zoo”

This longstanding project aims to assess the evolvability of various types of proteins through experimental and computational research. This foundational ID research was first conducted by Douglas Axe at the Centre for Protein Engineering (CPE) in Cambridge, and published in 2000 and 2004 in the Journal of Molecular Biology. It showed that only 1 in 1077 sequences could yield a stable protein fold that could yield a functional beta-lactamase enzyme. Follow-up research by Axe (2010) performed a population genetics study which found that when a feature requires more than six mutations before giving any benefit, this feature is unlikely to arise in the whole history of the Earth — even in the case of bacteria that have large population sizes and rapid generation times. Additional research by Gauger and Axe (2011) found that merely converting a particular metabolic enzyme to perform the function of a closely related enzyme — the kind of conversion that evolutionists claim can readily happen — would require a minimum of seven mutations. Yet this exceeds the limits of what Darwinian evolution can produce over the Earth’s entire history, as calculated by Axe (2010). A follow-up study by Gauger, Axe, and biologist Mariclair Reeves bolstered this finding by attempting to mutate additional enzymes to perform the function of a closely related protein (Reeves et al. 2014). After inducing all possible single mutations in the enzymes, and many other combinations of mutations, they found that evolving a protein to perform the function of a closely related protein would take over 1015 years — over 100,000 times longer than the age of the Earth. Collectively, this research indicates strong barriers to protein evolution, and that evolving a protein from a similar protein often requires more time (and mutations) than is available. The project is currently headed by Brian Miller—and also includes Ann Gauger, Douglas Axe, Marci Reeves, and Paul Nelson. It is now investigating whether functional sequence rarity entails isolation in sequence space (thereby inaccessible to mutation-selection), and also to catalog the spectrum of broad types of proteins to determine which types might be evolvable by mutation and selection, and which are not. This refers to the “protein zoo” — the idea that there are lots of types of proteins which exist. This project aims to catalog many of these types of proteins and ask whether some are evolvable by natural mechanisms, while others are not. 

Selected Publications

Waiting Times

This team of researchers — including biologists Richard Sternberg and Ann Gauger, mathematician Ola Hössjer, and headed by paleontologist Günter Bechly — is evaluating whether geologically available windows of time can accommodate the waiting times for the required mutations build the complex anatomical features that appear throughout the history of life. In 2018, these investigators published a theoretical mathematical model for making these assessments in Springer Proceedings in Mathematics and Statistics, and in 2021 they further developed their mathematical model in a paper published in Journal of Theoretical Biology. They are now applying their model to various systems.

Selected Publications

Below is a non-exhaustive list of select researchers involved in the ID 3.0 research program. (Note: Some researchers involved in ID 3.0 projects must remain anonymous due to the threat of potential harm to their careers.)

Douglas Axe

Maxwell Professor of Molecular Biology at Biola University, Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Douglas Axe is the Maxwell Professor of Molecular Biology at Biola University, the founding Director of Biologic Institute, the founding Editor of BIO-Complexity, and the author of Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed. After completing his PhD at Caltech, he held postdoctoral and research scientist positions at the University of Cambridge and the Cambridge Medical Research Council Centre. His research, which examines the functional and structural constraints on the evolution of proteins and protein systems, has been featured in many scientific journals, including the Journal of Molecular Biology, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, BIO-Complexity, and Nature, and in such books as Signature in the Cell and Darwin’s Doubt by Stephen Meyer and Life’s Solution by Simon Conway Morris.
Projects
Bacterial Adaptation, Protein Zoo
Education
PhD Cal Tech

Günter Bechly

Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Günter Bechly is a German paleo-entomologist who specializes in the fossil history and systematics of insects (esp. dragonflies), the most diverse group of animals. He served as curator for amber and fossil insects in the department of paleontology at the State Museum of Natural History (SMNS) in Stuttgart, Germany. He is also a Senior Fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Dr. Bechly earned his Ph.D. in geosciences from Eberhard-Karls-University in Tübingen, Germany.

Stuart Burgess

Professor of Engineering Design at University of Bristol
Dr Stuart Burgess has held academic posts at Bristol University (UK), Cambridge University (UK), and Liberty University (USA). He has published over 180 scientific publications on the science of design in engineering and biology. In the last two Olympics he was the lead transmission designer for the British Olympic Cycling Team, helping them on both occasions to be ranked in first place for track cycling. For the last two decades his gearboxes have been used successfully on all the large earth-observation satellites of the European Space Agency. He has received many national and international awards for design, including the top mechanical engineer award in the UK out of 120,000 professional mechanical engineers.
Projects
Engineering Research Group
Education
BSc, PhD, CEng, FIMechE

Marcos Nogueira Eberlin

Member of Brazilian Academy of Sciences, Professor at Mackenzie University
A member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, Marcos Eberlin received his PhD in chemistry from the University of Campinas (UNICAMP) and served as a postdoc at Purdue University. Back at UNICAMP, he founded and coordinated for 25 years the ThoMSon Mass Spectrometry (MS) Laboratory, making it an internationally recognized research center, one of the best-equipped and innovative MS laboratories worldwide. Eberlin has published nearly 1,000 scientific articles and is a recipient of many awards and honors, including the title of Commander of the National Order of Scientific Merit (2005) from Brazil’s President, the Zeferino Vaz Award (2002) for excellence in teaching and research.
Projects
Proteomics; Evolution of Ribosomes; Prebiotic Synthesis; Amino Acid Optimality
Education
PhD Chemistry, University of Campinas

Michael Egnor

Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics, State University of New York, Stony Brook
Michael R. Egnor, MD, is a Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics at State University of New York, Stony Brook, has served as the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, and is an award-winning brain surgeon. He was named one of New York’s best doctors by the New York Magazine in 2005. He received his medical education at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed his residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital. His research on hydrocephalus has been published in journals including Journal of Neurosurgery, Pediatrics, and Cerebrospinal Fluid Research. He is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Hydrocephalus Association in the United States and has lectured extensively throughout the United States and Europe.
Projects
Brain Blood Flow
Education
MD Columbia University

Winston Ewert

Senior Fellow, Senior Research Scientist, Software Engineer
Winston Ewert is a software engineer and intelligent design researcher. He received his PhD from Baylor University in electrical and computer engineering. He specializes in computer simulations of evolution, genomic design patterns, and information theory. A Google alum, he is a Senior Research Scientist at Biologic Institute and a Senior Fellow of the Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence.
Projects
Design Detection, Design and Systematics
Education
PhD Electrical and Computer Engineering, Baylor University

Ann Gauger

Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Dr. Ann Gauger is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture, and Senior Research Scientist at the Biologic Institute in Seattle, Washington. She received her Bachelor's degree from MIT and her Ph.D. from the University of Washington Department of Zoology. She held a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, where her work was on the molecular motor kinesin.
Projects
Human Origins, Protein Zoo
Education
PhD Biology, University of Washington

Guillermo Gonzalez

Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Guillermo Gonzalez is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. He received his Ph.D. in Astronomy in 1993 from the University of Washington. He has done post-doctoral work at the University of Texas, Austin and at the University of Washington and has received fellowships, grants and awards from such institutions as NASA, the University of Washington, the Templeton Foundation, Sigma Xi (scientific research society) and the National Science Foundation. In 2024, he co-authored the YA novel The Farm at the Center of the Universe with Jonathan Witt.
Projects
Local Fine-Tuning
Education
PhD Astronomy, University of Washington

Richard Gunasekera

Research Professor of Science, Technology, Biological Sciences, Biochemistry, and Health at Biola University, Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Richard Gunasekera is Research Professor of Science, Technology and Health at Biola University, and holds professorships in Biological Sciences and Biochemistry. He has enjoyed a 20-year career in higher education as Professor and a scientist in the field of Biochemical Genetics and Forensic Science. He earned his bachelor’s in biochemistry at Baylor University, a master’s degree in bio-organic chemistry from the University of Houston-Clear Lake, a master’s in molecular genetics and a doctorate in Biomedical Sciences at the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. He has held faculty and research positions at Rice University in Houston, Texas A&M University Health Science Center, and the University of Houston-Victoria. His research now spans several interdisciplinary fields such as biochemical genetics, nanomedicine, forensic science, and cancer biology. Gunasekera's work is focused on using nanomedicine to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria and viruses which he conducts with collaborators such as Dr. James Tour and others at his home institution. He has recently published molecular findings regarding the SARS CoV-2 virus and potential prevention methodologies of COVID-19 that were cited by WHO-related investigators early in the pandemic. Richard and his wife Nisha have two children.
Projects
Plant Cancer Research, Orphan Genes, Cancer-killing Nanomachines
Education
PhD Biomedical Sciences at the Baylor University Medical Center

Ola Hössjer

Professor of Mathematical Statistics, Stockholm University
Ola Hössjer has been professor of mathematical statistics at Stockholm University, Sweden, since 2002. He has done research in statistics and probability theory with applications in population genetics, epidemiology, and insurance mathematics. Hössjer has authored more than one hundred publications, supervised thirteen PhD students, and in 2009 received the Gustafsson Prize in Mathematics. His current research interests include exploring the limits of evolutionary theory and quantifying fine tuning in biology and physics.
Projects
Human Origins, Waiting Times
Education
PhD Mathematics, Uppsala University

Casey Luskin

Associate Director and Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.
Projects
Flagellar Evolution; Primary Manager of ID 3.0 Research Program
Education
PhD Geology, University of Johannesburg; JD University of San Diego

Jonathan McLatchie

Resident Biologist and Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Dr. Jonathan McLatchie holds a Bachelor's degree in Forensic Biology from the University of Strathclyde, a Masters (M.Res) degree in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Glasgow, a second Master's degree in Medical and Molecular Bioscience from Newcastle University, and a PhD in Evolutionary Biology from Newcastle University. Previously, Jonathan was an assistant professor of biology at Sattler College in Boston, Massachusetts. Jonathan has been interviewed on podcasts and radio shows including "Unbelievable?" on Premier Christian Radio, and many others. Jonathan has spoken internationally in Europe, North America, South Africa and Asia promoting the evidence of design in nature.
Projects
Flagellar Evolution; Cell Cycle Origins
Education
PhD Evolutionary Biology, University of Newcastle

Brian Miller

Research Coordinator and Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Dr. Brian Miller is Research Coordinator and Senior Fellow for the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute. He holds a B.S. in physics with a minor in engineering from MIT and a Ph.D. in physics from Duke University. He speaks internationally on the topics of intelligent design and the impact of worldviews on society. He also has consulted on organizational development and strategic planning, and he is a technical consultant for Ideashares, a virtual incubator dedicated to bringing innovation to the marketplace.
Projects
Protein Zoo, Engineering Research Group (Manager and Researcher)
Education
PhD Physics, Duke University

Scott Minnich

Professor of Microbiology, University of Idaho
Scott Minnich holds a Ph.D. from Iowa State University and is currently a professor of microbiology at the University of Idaho and is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.
Projects
Flagellar Evolution, Bacterial Adaptation
Education
PhD Microbiology, Iowa State University

Paul Nelson

Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Paul A. Nelson is currently a Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture and Adjunct Professor in the Master of Arts Program in Science & Religion at Biola University. He is a philosopher of biology who has been involved in the intelligent design debate internationally for three decades. His grandfather, Byron C. Nelson (1893-1972), a theologian and author, was an influential mid-20th century dissenter from Darwinian evolution. After Paul received his B.A. in philosophy with a minor in evolutionary biology from the University of Pittsburgh, he entered the University of Chicago, where he received his Ph.D. (1998) in the philosophy of biology and evolutionary theory.
Projects
Orphan Genes, Waiting Times, Protein Zoo
Education
PhD Philosophy of Biology, University of Chicago

Emily Reeves

Research Scientist, Center for Science and Culture
Emily Reeves is a biochemist, metabolic nutritionist, and aspiring systems biologist. Her doctoral studies were completed at Texas A&M University in Biochemistry and Biophysics. Emily is currently an active clinician for metabolic nutrition and nutritional genomics at Nutriplexity. She enjoys identifying and designing nutritional intervention for subtle inborn errors of metabolism. She is also working with fellows of Discovery Institute and the greater scientific community to promote integration of engineering and biology. She spends her weekends adventuring with her husband, brewing kombucha, and running near Puget Sound.
Projects
Engineering Research Group (Manager and Researcher)
Education
PhD Biochemistry, Texas A&M University

Marciclair Reeves

Fellow and Associate Research Scientist, Center for Science and Culture
Mariclair Anne Reeves is a fellow and associate research scientist at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. She earned a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology with a neuroscience concentration from the University of Hawaii Mānoa, John A. Burns School of Medicine. Her PhD research focused on mechanisms for selenoprotein M, which incorporates the 21st amino acid selenocysteine. She also holds a BS in Animal Science, with Biotechnology, Pre-Veterinary Medicine, and Biology concentrations from the University of Delaware. She previously worked as a research scientist with Biologic Institute investigating the origin of protein families and whether bacterial enzymes can be co-opted to perform new functions. She has published her research in journals such as Cell Molecular Life Sciences, Biochemical Journal, Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, The Journal of Biological Chemistry, and BIO-Complexity.
Projects
Protein Zoo
Education
PhD Cell & Molecular Biology and Neuroscience, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Richard Sternberg

Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Richard Sternberg is an evolutionary biologist with interests in the relation between genes and morphological homologies, and the nature of genomic “information.” He holds two Ph.D.'s: one in Biology (Molecular Evolution) from Florida International University and another in Systems Science (Theoretical Biology) from Binghamton University. From 2001-2007, he served as a staff scientist at the National Center for Biotechnology Information, and from 2001-2007 was a Research Associate at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Dr. Sternberg is presently a research scientist at the Biologic Institute, supported by a research fellowship from the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute. He is also a Research Collaborator at the National Museum of Natural History.
Projects
Waiting Times, Immaterial Genome
Education
PhD in Biology / Molecular Evolution, Florida International University; PhD Systems Science / Theoretical Biology, Binghamton University