William "Bill" McGinnis, Ph.D. is a molecular biologist and professor of biology at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). At UCSD he has also served as the Chairman of the Department of Biology from July 1998 - June 1999, as Associate Dean of the Division of Natural Sciences from July 1 1999 - June 2000, and as Interim Dean of the newly established Division of Biological Sciences from July 1 2000 - February 1 2001.
He received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1982 and was a Jane Coffin Childs postdoctoral fellow at the University of Basel. From 1984 to 1995, he was on the faculty of Yale University. He received a Searle Scholar Award, a Presidential Young Investigator Award, and a Dreyfuss Teacher/Scholar Award.
McGinnis studies the evolutionary changes in transcription factors by looking at the Hox genes. His main research has been in Drosophila, comparing Hox genes within that species with Hox genes in other species, to see they are conserved (kept intact) during evolution. He also studies how Hox transcription functions control morphogenesis, and how changes in the Hox proteins, cofactors, and DNA targets affect morphology. One long term objective of the research in his lab is to understand the molecular interactions that underlie functional specificity in the Hox patterning system.