Amherst College Biologist Ethan Clotfelter Receives Grant to Study Aggression

December 21, 2005
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Ethan Clotfelter, an assistant professor of biology at Amherst College, has been awarded a research grant from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation to study the biological basis of aggressive behavior and the extent to which environmental contaminants affect aggression.

The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation ( in New York City was established by entrepreneur and former ambassador Harry Frank Guggenheim to sponsor “scholarly research on problems of violence, aggression, and dominance.” Most projects funded by the foundation come from the social sciences, but Clotfelter’s research will focus on biology. In particular, he will focus on a group of contaminants called phytoestrogens, which are found in runoff from agricultural fields and effluent from pulp and paper mills. His research, focusing on fish, will make predictions about the relationship between phytoestrogen exposure and aggression in a range of species, including humans. The funds will be used to purchase equipment and supplies that students can use as they conduct independent research in Clotfelter’s laboratory.

A member of the Amherst faculty since 2003, Clotfelter received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in zoology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.




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