I am a postdoctoral researcher in the ImmunoConcept Unit at the University of Bordeaux/CNRS and a member of the ERC-funded IDEM project, where I work on the philosophy and biology of holobionts, symbiosis, microbiomes, and biological individuality. I received my Ph.D. in philosophy from The Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) in 2016. I received my Ph.D. in zoology and my M.A. in philosophy from The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 2012.
A full CV is available here.
Check out a recent article I wrote for Aeon Magazine here.
I am co-organizing, with Thomas Pradeu, an Interdisciplinary Workshop on Holobionts here in Bordeaux. Check it out here. I am also a part of the Philosophy in Biology and Medicine (PhilInBioMed) research network. Outside of my research I enjoy hiking, camping, diving, video/board/role-playing games, the sci-fi and fantasy genres, and putting together LEGOs with my daughter. I am also passionate about cooking, barbecuing, brewing and baking.
I specialize in philosophy of biology, philosophy of science, and environmental ethics/philosophy. My biology research has focused on conservation biology, evolutionary ecology, and phylogenetics. My philosophy dissertation research was focused on explanation and causal reasoning in biology and I continue to work on projects in this area. I am particularly interested in the problem of how to approach the complex and hierarchical nature of living systems when investigating biological phenomena and constructing explanations. I have ongoing projects on robustness, causal explanation, biological individuality, speciation and lineage concepts, and biological organization. I also have side projects in the history of biology, on marine population connectivity, and on a Buddhist approach to the ontology of living systems.
I have done the majority of my biological research at The Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology working with the coral reefs and organisms within the incomparable Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
Derek J Skillings