Margaret Kidwell Endowment


The Genetics Graduate Interdisciplinary Program (GIDP) initiated a fundraising campaign in August 2013 for an annual distinguished lectureship in Genetics at the University of Arizona in honor of Dr. Margaret G. Kidwell, Regents’ Professor Emerita of the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology (EEB), and previous Chair of the Genetics GIDP.

Margaret Kidwell is renowned for her pioneering studies of transposable genetic elements (jumping genes) and as a role model for women scientists. Margaret’s fascination with genetics started early as a small girl growing up on her father’s pedigree poultry farm in the English Midlands during World War II.

A Kellogg Foundation Fellowship brought her to Iowa State University to study for an MS degree in poultry breeding. There she met Guggenheim Fellow Dr. James Kidwell and they later married and teamed up on genetic studies using Drosophila and mice. At Brown University, in addition to raising two daughters, Margaret continued Drosophila research working both with her husband and later independently. She obtained her PhD in 1973 (Major Professor Dr. Masa- toshi Nei).

Margaret’s Ph.D. research findings lead to the discovery of hybrid dysgenesis in Drosophila in collaboration with Australian geneticist John Sved. She later collaborated with molecular biologists Gerald Rubin and Paul Bingham on experiments that isolated the P transposable elements that have since become the workhorse of Drosophila molecular geneticists. Margaret’s subsequent population and evolutionary studies proved that the P element only recently invaded the cosmopolitan Drosophila melanogaster species, probably by horizontal transfer. Her later writings with Damon Lisch explored the significance of transposable elements as sources of variation in organismal evolution.

After more than ten years working at Brown University in a voluntary research capacity, Margaret moved to the University of Arizona EEB Department as a tenured Professor in 1985. She was appointed Chair of the Genetics GIDP from 1988-1991 and Chair of EEB from 1992-1997. She was honored as a Regents’ Professor in 1994. She was active in many extramural activities including service as President of the American Genetic Association and President of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.
Her accomplishments in research have led to several national honors. She is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science as well as being the first female member of the National Academy of Sciences to be elected from Arizona. Dr. Margaret Kidwell has made many notable contributions to the scientific community and it is an honor to have her as a part of the University of Arizona and the GIDPs.

The Margaret Kidwell Endowment created in Dr. Kidwell’s honor supports an annual distinguished lecture series coordinated by the Genetics GIDP.
The purpose of the series is to bring to the UA distinguished geneticists to present their research and to pro- mote interdisciplinary interactions among members of the genetics community who are dispersed among almost 20 departments in five colleges. The endow- ment fund will provide travel, and per diem expenses as well as an appropriate honorarium for the invited scientist. The average outlay from the fund is ex- pected to be about $2,500 per year.
Each year, a distinguished geneticist will be invited to present a lecture at the University of Arizona, selected by Margaret and the Genetics GIDP students. The scientist will travel to Tucson to participate in three days of events interact- ing with students and faculty at the UA. The schedule will include some social time with Dr. Kidwell, students, faculty and postdocs . The invited guests will meet with students and faculty in UA labs of interest to the visitor.


Please consider a contribution to support to The Margaret Kidwell Endowment created by mailing your contribution to:

The University of Arizona
Attn.: Alicia Lopez GIDP Administration Office Administration 303
P O Box 210066
Tucson, AZ 85721-0066

Please make checks payable to The University of Arizona Foundation and use the
Kidwell Endowment in the subject line.
Thank you.