Jessica Bolker

Jessica Bolker

Phone: (603) 862-0071
Office: Biological Sciences, Rudman Hall Rm 216, Durham, NH 03824
Pronouns: She/her/hers

Philosophy of science, particularly epistemological questions around the use of models, and other topics connected to evolutionary developmental biology. Areas of particular interest include model choice, criteria, and implications; homology; modularity; and the role of fiction in the teaching and practice of science.

Faculty Award Winner

Award Type:  College Excellence in Teaching
Year:  2009

Courses Taught

  • BIOL 714/814: Model Organism Research
  • BIOL 714W/814: Model Organism Research
  • BIOL 901: Intro Graduate Seminar
  • BIOL 902: Scientific Writing
  • BIOL 950: Scientific Communication
  • BIOL 999: Doctoral Dissertation Research
  • GEN 799H: Honors Senior Thesis
  • MEFB 410: Marine Immersion
  • ZOOL 529: Developmental Biology
  • ZOOL 690: Evolution
  • ZOOL 690W: Evolution


  • Ph.D., Zoology, University of California - Berkeley
  • B.S., Biology, Yale University

Selected Publications

  • Bolker, J. A. (2017). Animal Models in Translational Research: Rosetta Stone or Stumbling Block?. BIOESSAYS, 39(12). doi:10.1002/bies.201700089

  • O'Malley, M. A., Travisano, M., Velicer, G. J., & Bolker, J. A. (2015). HOW DO MICROBIAL POPULATIONS AND COMMUNITIES FUNCTION AS MODEL SYSTEMS?. QUARTERLY REVIEW OF BIOLOGY, 90(3), 269-293. doi:10.1086/682588

  • Bolker, J., & Brauckmann, S. (2015). From experimental zoology to big data: Observation and integration in the study of animal development. JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL ZOOLOGY PART A-ECOLOGICAL AND INTEGRATIVE PHYSIOLOGY, 323(5), 277-291. doi:10.1002/jez.1924

  • Bolker, J. A. (2014). Model species in evo-devo: a philosophical perspective. EVOLUTION & DEVELOPMENT, 16(1), 49-56. doi:10.1111/ede.12056

  • Bolker, J. (2012). There's more to life than rats and flies. NATURE, 491(7422), 31-33. doi:10.1038/491031a

  • Meredith, D. C., & Bolker, J. A. (2012). Rounding off the cow: Challenges and successes in an interdisciplinary physics course for life science students. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICS, 80(10), 913-922. doi:10.1119/1.4733357

  • Bolker, J. A. (2009). EXEMPLARY AND SURROGATE MODELS two modes of representation in biology. PERSPECTIVES IN BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE, 52(4), 485-499. Retrieved from

  • Martinez, G. M., & Bolker, J. A. (2003). Embryonic and larval staging of summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus). JOURNAL OF MORPHOLOGY, 255(2), 162-176. doi:10.1002/jmor.10053

  • BOLKER, J. A. (1995). MODEL SYSTEMS IN DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY. BIOESSAYS, 17(5), 451-455. doi:10.1002/bies.950170513