Billie J. Swalla is currently the Director of Friday Harbor Labs at the University of Washington. Billie received her Ph.D. in developmental biology from the University of Iowa, while spending summers at the Marine Biology Lab in Woods Hole, MA. She combined the fields of development and evolution in postdoctoral studies, working on the evolution and development of tailed and tailless ascidians at the Station Biologique in Roscoff, France. Billie is an expert on the genomics and development of invertebrates, especially the invertebrate deuterostomes. She is passionate about marine research and teaching and is actively involved in an effort to network Pacific Coast marine labs with Gump and Tetiaroa with the marine labs on the U.S.A. West Coast.