The Nowicki Lab at Duke University




Steve Nowicki is Bass Fellow and Professor of Biology and Psychology & Neuroscience in Duke's Trinity College of Arts and Science, and Professor of Neurobiology at Duke University Medical Center. He received both B.S. and M.S. degrees from Tufts University, and his doctorate in Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University. After leaving Cornell, Steve did post-doctoral work and was appointed assistant professor at The Rockefeller University, working in Peter Marler's laboratory at Rockefeller's Field Station in Millbrook. Steve arrived at Duke in 1989 and has never been tempted to leave. He served as Dean of Natural Sciences in Duke's Trinity College of Arts and Science from 2004 to 2007, at which time he was appointed Dean and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, a position he held until 2018.

Steve's research explores mechanisms underlying the evolution of behavior. He is particularly interested in the function and evolution of animal communication systems. Steve is the author of over 125 peer-reviewed articles on neurobiology and behavior and, with Bill Searcy, co-author of The Evolution of Animal Communication (2005, Princeton University Press). He also is author of The Science of Life (2004, The Teaching Company) and Biology (2008, 2017, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), the latter being a leading textbook for high school students. Steve's research has been funded by over the years by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and several private foundations including the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Whitehall Foundation.

In 1992, Steve was awarded Duke's Robert B. Cox Distinguished Teaching Award. He was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 1999 and was named Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor that same year in recognition of excellence in both research and teaching. Steve was elected a Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society in 1998 and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010.

Among his professional activities, Steve has been chair of the Division of Animal Behavior in the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, and he served as president of the Animal Behavior Society. He also has served as a trustee of the Carolina Friends School. In addition to his fourteen year stint with the Duke administration, Steve also was a member of the Duke University Pep Band for many years, balancing his professional time between research, administration, and basketball games.

Click here for a PDF of Steve's Curriculum Vitae and click here if you want to see him juggle fire.