John C. DeFries

John C. DeFries

John C. DeFries is professor of psychology and faculty fellow of the Institute for Behavioral Genetics, University of Colorado, Boulder. After receiving his doctorate in agriculture (with specialty training in quantitative genetics) from the University of Illinois in 1961, he remained on the faculty of the University of Illinois for six years. In 1962, he began research on mouse behavioral genetics, and the following year he was a research fellow in genetics at the University of California, Berkeley. After returning to Illinois in 1964, DeFries initiated an extensive genetic analysis of open-field behavior in laboratory mice. Three years later, he joined the Institute for Behavioral Genetics, and he served as its director from 1981 to 2001. DeFries and Steve G. Vandenberg founded the journal Behavior Genetics in 1970, and DeFries and Robert Plomin founded the Colorado Adoption Project in 1975. For over three decades, DeFries’s major research interest has concerned the genetics of reading disabilities, founding the Colorado Learning Disabilities Research Center with Richard K. Olson in 1990. He served as president of the Behavior Genetics Association in 1982 and 1983, receiving the association’s Th. Dobzhansky Award for Outstanding Research in 1992; and he became a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (Section J, Psychology) in 1994 and the Association for Psychological Science in 2009.

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