Stephen Freeland

  Stephen Freeland is currently the Director for the Interdisciplinary Studies program at UMBC ( His academic background (a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Oxford, a master’s in biological computation from York University, and a doctorate in genetics from Cambridge) has led him to spend the past twenty years researching the evolution of genetic coding. Steve’s current research explores the evolution of the amino acid “alphabet”—the set of twenty building blocks with which life has been making the proteins of metabolism for more than three billion years. Underlying this research is a growing interest in the cosmological question, “To what degree is life on Earth (or elsewhere) a result of chance?” As the son of a biology teacher who retrained as a Methodist minister, Steve has been blessed with an encouraging environment with which to explore the interface of science and faith since childhood.