Dr. William R. Atchley, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Genetics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, has been awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. One of the the most prestigious awards granted by the governor North Carolina, the order is presented to individuals who have a proven record of extraordinary service to the state, including contributions to the community, exemplary career efforts and many years of service to their organizations. On behalf of Gov. Bev Perdue, Rep. Maggie Jeffus of the state House of Representatives presented the order to Atchley during a January reception hosted by the College.
Atchley earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Eastern New Mexico University and his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in entomology from the University of Kansas. He was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Melbourne before joining the faculty of Texas Tech University. He subsequently moved his research laboratory to the University of Wisconsin before joining N. C. State University in 1986. In 1993, Dr. Atchley was named William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Genetics.
Over the last 20 years at N.C. State, Atchley has made substantial contributions to computational biology and molecular evolution. More recently, his research group has been interested in modeling structure and evolution of transcriptional regulators, exploring the origin and evolution of regulatory gene networks and the application of multivariate statistical methods to high dimensional molecular data. Atchley has been named fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as Chinese Academy of Sciences Distinguished International Professor. He also holds an Alexander von Humboldt Senior Research Award from the Max Planck Institute in Mathematics in Leipzig, Germany.
In addition to his scientific achievements, Dr. Atchley is an accomplished saxophone player. He founded the 17-piece Jazz Alliance and the jazz sextet Unit 7.