Carroll is a pioneer and international leader in the field of evolutionary developmental biology, also known as “evo-devo.” Carroll seeks to understand the relative contributions of different mechanisms—gene co-option, gene duplication and loss, regulatory and protein sequence changes—to the evolution of different kinds of traits. His research has shown that the diversity of animal life is largely due to the different ways the same body-building and body-patterning genes are regulated, rather than changes to the genes themselves. His research has more recently focused on biochemical novelties such as the evolution of snake venom.
He has written seven highly acclaimed books, including his newest, “A Series of Fortunate Events: Chance and the Making of the Planet, Life, and You,” and “The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters” and “Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom.” From 2009 to 2013, Carroll wrote a column for The New York Times called “Remarkable Creatures,” where he highlighted discoveries in biology.
Carroll also serves as vice president of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education and as head of its film production unit Tangled Bank Studios.