'Interim' no more; Swalla named director of FH Labs

Billie Swalla - Contributed photo
Billie Swalla
— image credit: Contributed photo

The "interim" label no longer applies.

After 12 months at the helm of the University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories as "interim" director, professor Billie Swalla has been named director of the world-renowned marine research facility.

An active researcher and member of the Labs community since 1999, Swalla agreed to serve as full-time director of the Labs for the next five years, according to a Labs press release. Her appointment, effectively immediately, is subject to approval of the U of W Board of Regents.

Swalla's appointment as director followed a search process that included wide consultation with the Labs community.

“I am personally thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to work with Billie to support and enhance the infrastructure of the Labs while simultaneously creating and implementing a shared vision for FHL as a vibrant and impactful marine field station that is considered to be a crown jewel by both the UW and international research communities,” said Lisa J. Graumlich, Prentice and Virginia Bloedel Professor and Dean of the U of W College of the Environment.

Swalla has worked at the Labs for the past 15 years, teaching comparative invertebrate embryology, evolution and development of animals, as well as several undergraduate apprenticeships.

Her resume includes 30 years of conducting research and teaching at marine laboratories worldwide. Her research has focused on genomics, evolution and development of marine invertebrates, and developmental gene networks and how they evolve in animals into different, elaborate body plans.

Swalla can be reached by email at, or by telephone, at 206-616-0764.



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