Bill Cresko is an expert in evolution, development, genomics and molecular biology. He is the founding director of the University of Oregon's Data Science Initiative, as well as associate vice president for research and professor of biology.
He is fascinated by the diversity of life. His research is built upon various advanced genetic and computational tools, some of which he helped to develop, that he uses to decipher how genes and developmental processes change to create biological diversity. His overall focus is on evolutionary changes in the genetic makeup of organisms that allow them to adapt to shifts in their environment through changes in their form and function.
His studies have led to an understanding of rapid changes in a small oceanic fish species, the threespine stickleback, as they have rapidly adapted to live in freshwater habitats. He and his collaborators also have used their genetic tools to see evolutionary changes in leafy sea dragons, pipefish and seahorses.
One of the genomic techniques he and colleagues invented, restriction-site associated DNA sequencing, is now being used by scientists of institutions and industries around the world for their studies on a variety of organisms.