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Joseph Graves

Joseph Graves

Joseph L. Graves, Jr., Ph.D.

About Professor Graves

Dr. Joseph Graves, Jr. received his Ph.D. in Environmental, Evolutionary and Systematic Biology from Wayne State University in 1988. In 1994 he was elected a Fellow of the Council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS.) In April 2002, he received the ASU-West award for Scholarly Research and Creative Activity. In 2012, he was chosen as one of the “Sensational Sixty” commemorating 60 years of the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Award. He was named one of the “Outstanding Graduates” from the first 182 years of the Biology Department of Oberlin College in the fall 2017; that same year his 1992 paper in Physiological Zoology and Biochemistry was listed as one of the top 90 cited papers in that journal’s 90 years of publication, and was named by US Black Engineer Magazine and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities council of Deans as one of the 2017 “Innovators of the Year.”

His research concerns the evolutionary genomics of adaptation, particularly as relevant to postponed aging and bacterial responses to nanomaterials. He has also written extensively concerning biological concepts of race in humans. He has published over ninety papers and book chapters in these arenas. He has appeared in seven documentary films and numerous television interviews on these general topics. He has been a Principal Investigator on grants from the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation.

His books on the biology of race are entitled: The Emperor’s New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millennium, Rutgers University Press, 2005 and The Race Myth: Why We Pretend Race Exists in America, Dutton Press, 2005. A summary of Dr. Graves’s research career can be found on Wikipedia, and he is also featured in the ABC-CLIO volume on Outstanding African American scientists. In November 2007, he was featured in the CNN Anderson Cooper 360 program on Dr. James Watson. He has appeared in 12 documentary films/television programs; including PBS’s Master Series: The Life of James Watson airing in the fall of 2018 on WPIX in New York City.

He has served as a member of the external advisory board for the National Human Genome Center at Howard University. In January 2006, he became a member of the “New Genetics and the African Slave Trade” working group of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute of Harvard University, chaired by professors Henry Louis Gates and Evelyn Hammonds. He has served as the chair of the Senior Advisory Board for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) at Duke University. He is currently a member of the executive boards of the NSF Science and Technology Center: Biocomputational Evolution in Action (BEACON); NSF NRT: Integrative Bioinformatics for Investigating and Engineering Microbiomes; and NSF NNCI: Southeast Nanoinnovation Corridor. He is a former member of the board of the Evolution Institute.

He was the Associate Editor for the 2nd Edition for the Encyclopedia of Race and Racism, Gale-Cengage published in 2013. Since 2007, he has served on editorial board of Evolution: Education and Outreach, published by Springer-Verlag. He has been an active participant in the struggle to protect and improve the teaching of science, particularly evolutionary biology in the public schools. He has been a leader in addressing the under representation of minorities in science careers, having directed successful programs in California and Arizona. He is a leading force in aiding underserved youth in Greensboro via the YMCA chess program. In 2018, he received the Ron Simpson Memorial Award for “love of chess and empathy for players at all levels.” He is currently a member of the Racial Justice and Reconciliation Council of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina.

  • The genomics of adaptation and biological/social conceptions of race in humans.
  • Dr. Graves’s group focuses on bacterial adaptation to novel nanomaterials, specifically metal/metal oxides.

Dr. Graves’s Research Team

Dr. Jude Akamu Ewunkem
Postdoctoral Researcher, Iron Resistant Bacteria

Sada Boyd
Ph.D. Student, Energy and Environment

Adero Campbell
MS student, Biology

Keara Coffield
MS student, Nanoenginneering

  • Elected to Fellow of the Council of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

    For original contributions to the evolutionary theory of aging through an examination of its population genetic and physiological basis and for the successful mentoring of minority graduate and undergraduate students in the biological sciences” 1994.

  • Nomination for Arizona State University Last Lecturer Series, 2001 & 2002.
  • ASU-West, Faculty/Academic Professional Achievement Award for Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity, 2002.
  • Elected to Phi Kappa Phi National Honorary Society, North Carolina A&T State University Chapter, 2005. Triangle Scholar, National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), Duke University, August 2011 – Ma2012.
  • Named as one of the “Sensational Sixty”; commemorating Sixty Years of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, 2012.
  • Lectured for Race: Representation and Museums Series, in honor of the 150th Anniversary of the Peabody Museum of Anthropology at Harvard University, sponsored by the Departments of Anthropology, Human Evolutionary Biology, and Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, Smashing Agassiz’s Boulder, September 27, 2016.
  • Nominated to give the Keynote Address for the 150th Anniversary of the founding of the Biology Department at Howard University, March 6, 2017.
  • Named: “Notable Graduate” in Drickhamer, L., A History of the Department of Biology at Oberlin College, (Oberlin, OH: Oberlin College Board of Trustees), 2017. The college was founded in 1835, and the first notable graduate was listed as graduating in 1850.

  1. Graves, L., The Safety of Nanomaterials: What We Know and What We Need to Know, in Advances in Nanoscience and Nanoengineering, (Eds. Kelkar, A.D., Herr, D., and Ryan, J.G.), pp: 267—286, CRC Press, 2014.
  2. Graves, L., Response: Developmental Systems and Inequality, Current Anthropology 55(5): 537-39, 2014.
  3. Tajkarimi, , Iyer, D., Tarannum, M., Cunningham, Q., Sharpe, I., Harrison, S.H., and Graves, J.L., The effect of silver nanoparticle size and coating on Escherichia coliJSM Nanotechnology and Nanomedicine, 1025, 2014.
  4. Graves, L., A Grain of Salt: Metallic and Metallic Oxide Nanoparticles as the New Antimicrobials, JSM Nanotechnology and Nanomedicine, 1026, 2014.
  5. Graves, J.L., Tajkarimi, M., Cunningham, Q., Campbell, A., Nonga, H., Harrison, S.H., Barrick, J.G., Rapid evolution of silver nanoparticle resistance in Escherichia coli, Frontier in Genetics 6(42), 2015, doi: 10.3389/fgene2015.0042.
  6. Mead, L.S., Forcino, F.L., Brown Clarke, J., and Graves J.L., Factors influencing the career pursuit of underrepresented minorities with an interest in biology, Evolution: Education and Outreach, Evolution: Education and Outreach 8:6 DOI: 10.1186/s12052-015-0034-7, 2015.
  7. Graves, J.L., Great is their sin: Biological Determinism in the Age of Genomics, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science DOI: 10.1177/0002716215586558, 2015.
  8. Moradi Kordmahalleh, ; Gorji Sefidmazgi, M.; Homaifar, A., Karimoddini, A.; Guiseppi-Elie, A.; and Graves, J.L., Gene Regulatory Networks with Hidden-Delayed Parameters, IEEE 14th International Conference on Bioinformatics and Bioengineering (BIBE), 2014.
  9. Graves, L., Why the non-existence of biological races, does not mean the non-existence of racism, in: “The Mechanisms of Color-Blind Racism,” Special Issue of American Behavioral Scientist, DOI: 10.1177/0002764215588810, 2015.
  10. Graves, J.L., Darkness and the Dawn? Evolution: Education and Outreach 8(1) 2015; .
  11. Tajkarimi, , Harrison, S.H., Hung, A.M., Kathariou, S. and Graves, J.L., 2016. Mechanobiology of Antimicrobial Resistant Escherichia coli and Listeria innocua, PLoS One DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149769.
  12. Graves, J.L., Biological Theories of Race Beyond the Millennium, in von Vacano and Suzuki (eds.), Reconsidering Race: Global and Comparative Studies in Race and Genomics (New York: Oxford U. Press), (in press) 2017.
  13. Graves L., Hurtado, M., Reiber, C., Scotchmoor, J., and Thanukos, A., Evolutionary Science as a method to facilitate higher level thinking and reasoning in medical training, Evolution, Medicine, & Public Health doi: 10.1093/emph/eow029.
  14. Graves, L., Hertweck, K.L., Phillips, M.A.,, Han, M.V., Cabral, L.G., Barber, T.T., Greer, L.F., Burke, M.F., Mueller, L.D., and Rose, M.R. 2016. Deep Genomics of Convergent Experimental Evolution in DrosophilaMolecular Biology and Evolutiondoi:10.1093/molbev/msw282First published online: January 12, 2017.
  15. Tajkarimi, M., Rhinehardt, K., Thomas, M., Ewunkem, J.A., Campbell, A., Boyd, S., Turner, D., Harrison, S.H., and Graves, J.L. 2017. Selection for ionic- confers silver nanoparticle resistance in Escherichia coli. JSM Nanotechnology and Nanomedicine 5: 1047, 2017.
  16. Outram, S., Graves, J.L., Powell, J. Wolpert, C., Haynie, K.L., Foster, M.W., Blanchard, J.W., Hoffmeyer, A., Agans, R.P., and Royal, C.M.D. Genes, Race, and Causation: US Public Perspectives About Racial Difference, Race Soc. Probl. (2018).
  17. Outram, S., Powell, J., Wolpert, C., Graves, J.L., Blanchard, J., Foster, M., Hayne, K., Hoffmeyer, A., Agans, R., and Royal, C. 2017. What is race? An empirical study of the US public’s concepts of race. (Under Review: Social Forces).
  18. Graves, J.L., Naturalizing Supernatural: Revisited, in Menichiello, I. and Booth, P. (Eds.), Time Lords & Tribbles, Winchesters, & Muggles (Blurb Press), 2017.
  19. Graves, J.L., The biosciences and neo-racism, in The Handbook of Cultural Security, (Watanabe, Y., Ed.), (Cheltenham Glos, UK), September 2017 (in press).
  20. Graves, J.L., Thomas, M., and Ewunkem, J., Antimicrobial Nanomaterials: Why Evolution Matters, Nanomaterials 2017, 7, 283; doi:10.3390/nano7100283.