David Penny

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David Penny

Taumarunui, New Zealand
NationalityNew Zealand
Alma mater
Scientific career
FieldsTheoretical biology

Edward David Penny CNZM[1] FRSNZ[2] (born 1939 in Taumarunui) is a theoretical biologist from New Zealand and evolutionary biologist.

Academic career

He completed undergraduate degrees in botany and chemistry at the University of Canterbury, and received his PhD in Biology at Yale University. He worked as a postdoctoral researcher at McMaster University.[3]

He was co-director of the Allan Wilson Centre at Massey University between 2002 and 2010.[3][4]

He was awarded the Marsden Medal in 2000 for services to science and the profession of science, and he was given the Rutherford Medal in 2004 for contributions to theoretical biology, molecular evolution and the analysis of DNA.[3]

In 2005 he was named a Distinguished Professor at Massey University[3] and made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.[1] After retiring in 2017 he became a Professor Emeritus.[3]

In 2018 he became the third New Zealander to be named a National Academy of Sciences foreign associate.[3]


His research has focused on theoretical biology, molecular evolution, human evolution, and the history of science.[3]

Selected works


  1. ^ a b "New Year Honours: New Zealand Order of Merit 2005". NZ Herald. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  2. ^ "Royal Society Te Apārangi, Our Fellows P-R". Royal Society Te Apārangi. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Professor Emeritus joins prominent US Academy". Massey University. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  4. ^ "David Penny: biology and genetics". Radio NZ. Retrieved 30 January 2019.