BIO AC Members BIOSketch
Spring 2021 BIO Advisory Committee Members
Dr. Suzanne Barbour (CEOSE Liaison)
In September 2019, Dr. Suzanne Barbour became the Dean of the UNC Graduate School and professor of biochemistry and biophysics. Prior to that, she oversaw 250 graduate programs at University of Georgia. She has served as program director in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences at the National Science Foundation and as a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the School of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. Previously at VCU, she led the graduate program in biochemistry and molecular biology, directed research training at the Center on Health Disparities and held affiliate appointments in the departments of African American studies, biology, and microbiology and immunology. Suzanne is committed to student success at the highest levels, including serving as a coach for the Academy for Future Science Faculty, a key National Institutes of Health (NIH) initiative, and has served for over a decade on the education and professional development committee of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Throughout her career, she has mentored dozens of students and received numerous awards for professional achievement and teaching excellence. Suzanne graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelorâs degree in chemistry and a doctorate in molecular biology and genetics from The Johns Hopkins University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Diego.
Dr. Herny L. Bart Jr.
Henry L. "Hank" Bart Jr. is Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Tulane University, and Director of the Tulane University Biodiversity Research Institute (TUBRI). A native New Orleanian, Bart earned Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Biological Sciences from the University of New Orleans, and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Oklahoma. Prior to joining the faculty of Tulane University (1992), Bart held faculty positions at the University of Illinois and Auburn University. Bart is Curator of the Royal D. Suttkus Fish Collection at TUBRI, the largest research collection of post-larval fishes in the world. Bart has also been involved in a number of biodiversity-related technology and cyberinfrastructure development projects at TUBRI, including the GEOLocate Project (software for geospatially referencing text descriptions of specimen collection locations), FishNet2 (a global network of 75 institutional fish collection databases), and HydroClim (modeled historical and future stream flow and temperature data for the U.S. and Canada). Bart has published over 90 scientific papers dealing with ecology and systematics of fishes and amphibians. Bart trains graduate students and teaches upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses in Ichthyology, Stream Ecology, Natural Resource Conservation and Biodiversity Informatics at Tulane. Bart is African American and has devoted considerable effort throughout his career to increasing minority participation in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and STEM broadly.
Dr. Barbara Beltz
Dr. Barbara Beltz is the Allene Lummis Russell Professor in Neuroscience at Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA, where she served as Director of the Neuroscience Program from 1996-2016. She also is Lead Consultant to the Sherman Fairchild Foundation for their undergraduate scientific grants programs, and a Member of the Corporation at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Dr. Beltz joined the faculty at Wellesley in 1987, after receiving her PhD from Princeton University (1979) and postdoctoral training in the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. She has published over 90 peer-reviewed research articles, as well as two books. Her research interests focus on the relationship between the immune system and the nervous system, and specifically how the immune system is involved in the production of new neurons in the adult brain.
Dr. Carla Cáceres (Chair)
Dr. Carla Cáceres is Director of the School of Integrative Biology and a professor in the Department of Animal Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign. She has affiliate appointments in the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment, and the Prairie Research Institute. Her research is focused at the interface of population, community and evolutionary ecology and addresses questions such as how biodiversity influences the spread of infectious diseases. She joined the University of Illinois faculty in 2001 and has been involved in several initiatives aimed at transforming undergraduate education and broadening participation in STEM. She received her B.S. in Biology from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D.in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University.
Dr. Jeannine Cavender-Bares
Dr. Jeannine Cavender-Bares is Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior and a Fellow at the Institute on Environment, University of Minnesota. Her work focuses on the physiological and evolutionary dimensions of plant ecology that influence community assembly and ecosystem function. She is particularly interested in the genetic and evolutionary basis of variation in plant phenotypes and spectral properties that can advance remote sensing of biodiversity, particularly detecting change through time and its consequences for ecosystems. She is committed to advancing international efforts for global monitoring and assessment of biodiversity and ecosystem services to aid management efforts towards sustainability. She is the Vice President for Finance of the Ecological Society of America and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. As of September 2020, she is the Director of the new NSF Biology Integration Institute on Spectral Biology and Global Change.
Dr. Thomas Daniel
Dr. Thomas Daniel is the Joan and Richard Komen Endowed Chair in the Department of Biology at the University of Washington. He is a former MacArthur âgeniusâ Fellowship awardee and Guggenheim Fellow. His research and teaching are at the confluence of neuroscience, engineering, computing, and biomechanics, as he and his mentees seek to understand the control and dynamics of movement in biology â from molecules to whole animals. In addition to his principal appointment in Washingtonâs Department of Biology (of which he was the founding Chair), Dr. Daniel holds faculty appointments in four other departments at the University. He is a past winner of the Universityâs Outstanding Teaching Award and the Universityâs Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award. He sits on numerous science planning groups at the national level, including the National Science Foundationâs Bio Directorate Advisory Committee, and is the U.S. representative to the international Council of Scientists for the Human Frontier Science Program. He also sits on the Boards of the Paul Allen Family Foundation and the Allen Institute.
Dr. Erich Grotewold
Dr. Erich Grotewold is the Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Michigan State University. Prior to this, he was Director of the Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center (ABRC), and Director of the Center for Applied Plant Sciences (CAPS) at The Ohio State University. He got his B.Sc. in Chemistry and Ph.D. in Molecular Biology/Biochemistry at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Following a 3-year postdoc at Cold Spring Harbor Labs, he became a Staff Investigator at the Labs. His research focuses on plant systems biology, and main research projects include understanding the control of plant gene expression, establishing the architecture of plant gene regulatory networks, engineering plant metabolism using transcription factors, studying the transport of phytochemicals, and identifying cellular targets of natural products in plants and animals. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 2009.
Dr. Michael Ibba
Dr. Michael Ibba is the dean of Schmid College of Science and Technology. Dr. Ibba previously was the Chair of the Microbiology Department and served as the Associate Director for the Infectious Disease Institute at The Ohio State University, where he taught for 19 years. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Applied Molecular Biology from the University of Manchester and came to the United States as an Associate Research Scientist at Yale University. He has published over 190 research articles and currently holds four research grants. Dr. Ibba has received several awards and distinctions. Notably, in 2019 he received the Distinguished Scholar Award at The Ohio State University and in 2017 and 2020 received the Faculty Award for Diversity Enhancement in the College of Arts and Sciences. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Dr. Richard Kuhn
Dr. Richard Kuhn is the Trent and Judith Anderson Distinguished Professor in Science and the Krenicki Family Director for the Purdue Institute of Inflammation, Immunology and Infectious Disease at Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. His research at Purdue has focused on the replication and assembly of the alphaviruses and the flaviviruses. Recognized internationally as an expert in the structure and assembly of viruses known to be human pathogens, a research team led by Kuhn and Rossmann was the first to determine the structure of the Zika virus. In 2007 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is the chair of the U.S. Panel on Viral Diseases of the US-Japan Cooperative Medical Sciences Program at NIAID. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Virology (1996-2019), Virology (2002-present), Viruses (2009-present), and is an editor (2012-2022) of Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews and associate editor of PLoS Pathogens(2014-present). He was the Chair of the American Society for Virology Education and Career Development Committee (2004-2006; Vice Chair 2012-2013) and Chair of the Program Committee (2014-2015).
Dr. C. Robertson McClung
Dr. C. Robertson McClung is the Patricia F. and William B. Hale 1944 Professor in the Arts and Science sat Dartmouth College, where he has been a member of the Department of Biological Sciences since 1988. From 2004 through 2009 he served as Associate Dean for the Sciences. His research focuses on the basis of endogenous biological clocks, now emphasizing the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. His teaching has focused on genetics and molecular biology and he has taught both introductory genetics to first year students and senior seminars based on the primary literature. McClung has published more than 85 articles and his work is funded by major grants from the National Science Foundation. In his lab at Dartmouth he has trained over 95 undergraduates, 17of whom have completed honors theses with him. In addition, he has served on the thesis committees of an additional 75 undergraduates. At Dartmouth he has served on and chaired numerous councils and committees, including the Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Committee, which administers the largest graduate program at Dartmouth. He has served on numerous competitive grant panels for the NSF, NIH and USDA. In 2009 he was elected as a Fellow of that Society. In 2010 he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Dr. Lucinda McDade
Dr. Lucinda McDade has been the chair of the Botany Department at Claremont Graduate University since 2006 and serves as the Judith B. Friend Director of Research at the California Botanic Garden (formerly Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden). She currently serves as executive director of the California Botanic Garden. McDadeâs research focuses on the large plant family Acanthaceae, on the role of hybridization in plant evolutionary history, in phylogeny reconstruction, and on plant reproductive biology. McDadeâs work has received prestigious grants from the National Science Foundation, Andrew Mellon Foundation, Fletcher Jones Foundation, and more. She is currently conducting several NSF-funded research projects, including curation and preservation of plant collections, understanding constraints on floral evolution, comparative biology in a phylogenetic age, and harnessing the power of herbaria to understand the changing flora of California. Before joining RSABG and CGU, McDade was an assistant professor and herbarium curator at the University of Arizona from 1992 to 2000, then served as associate curator and chair of botany at the Academy of Natural Sciences until 2006. McDadeâs many appointments and honors include Merit Award honoree, Botanical Society of America (2013); president, American Society of Plant Taxonomists (2003â2004); Melinda F. Denton Memorial Lecturer, University of Washington (1998); president, Association for Tropical Biology (1995); and membership in Sigma Xi (1980). In 2010, she became the first-ever chair of the Botanical Society of America (BSA) Advisory Council, the largest professional society of plant scientists in the United States.
Dr. B Gail McLean
Dr. McLean is the Team Lead for the Photochemistry and Biochemistry team in the Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences (CSGB) Division of DOE's Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES). She is also currently the acting Program Manager for the BES Physical Biosciences program which supports fundamental research on energy capture, conversion, and storage in plants and microbes. She previously served as the Acting Division Director for the CSGB Division and as the Program Manager for the BES Photosynthetic Systems program which supports fundamental research on natural photosynthesis. Her professional career has been primarily dedicated to federal scientific program management and leadership. Her Ph.D. is in plant molecular genetics and her prior research includes studies of plant cytoskeletal proteins, Agrobacterium signaling mechanisms, and plasmodesmata/cell-to-cell transport. Prior to joining DOE in 2008, she was a National Program Leader in the USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (now the National Institute of Food and Agriculture) where she led multiple basic research competitive programs in plant science. At USDA, Dr. McLean also served as the Acting Integrated Programs Director which included oversight of the SBIR program. At DOE, Dr. McLean has managed projects in all BES funding modalities â core program, Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs), and the Fuels from Sunlight Energy Innovation Hub.
Dr. Gretchen North
After receiving her PhD from UCLA and working as a postdoctoral associate there, Dr. Gretchen North joined the Biology Department at Occidental College, where she has taught and done research with undergraduates since 1998. The principal question she has investigated is how plants take up and use water, particularly in stressful habitats such as hot deserts and dry shrub lands. As a plant physiological ecologist, she is interested and experienced in measuring plant responses to the environment at multiple scales, from molecular to ecosystem levels. Her primary research contribution to the field has been in plant hydraulics, work that has produced a number of highly cited papers and that has received repeated NSF funding. Recently, she has entered into collaborations to examine the role of the soil microbiome for desert species and to assess photosynthetic efficiency from the leaf to canopy to global scales using solar-induced fluorescence. In addition to being an active reviewer for NSF, USDA, and many international journals, she has been on the editorial boards of Plant, Cell & Environment and Plant and Soil, and served on several NSF panels as well as on an NSF Committee of Visitors. She is a member of several professional societies and has served as Secretary and co-President of the Physiological Ecology sectioEcologicaln of the Society of America. What has been most gratifying to her in her career, and what informs the perspective she brings to the NSF Biological Sciences Advisory Committee, is her work alongside a diverse group of undergraduate researchers in the laboratory and in the field.
Dr. Diane Pataki (AC-ERE Liaison)
Dr. Diane Pataki is a Professor in the School of Biological Sciences with an adjunct appointment in the Department of City & Metropolitan Planning. She also serves as Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Utah. Prior to arriving in Utah in 2012, she was on the faculty of the University of California, Irvine for 8 years where she was the founding Director of the Center for Environmental Biology and the Steele Burnand Anza Borrego Desert Research Center. Dr. Patakiâs work is transdisciplinary and has spanned the impacts of climate change on ecosystems, coupled human-natural processes related to urban CO2 emissions, and the role of urban landscaping and forestry in the socioecology of cities. Dr. Pataki is a Fulbright Global Scholar and a Fellow of both the American Geophysical Union and the Ecological Society of America. She is the Chief Specialty Editor for the joint Urban Ecology section of the journals Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution and Frontiers in Sociology, and a member of the National Science Foundation Directorate for Biological Sciences Advisory Committee (NSF BIO AC) and the Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education (NSF AC ERE). She has previously served as a Program Director in the NSF Division of Environmental Biology and a member of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Board of Scientific Counselors. She is also currently Vice President for Science of the Ecological Society of America.
Dr. Maria Pellegrini
Dr. Maria Pellegrini is Executive Director of Programs at the W. M. Keck Foundation in Los Angeles. From 2004 to 2008 she served as Vice President for Research at Brandeis University where she was responsible for research infrastructure, grants and contracts university-wide, including oversight of a $154 million science complex renewal project involving the design and construction of two new science buildings and major renovations in others. Dr. Pellegrinin was the recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship and designated a Teacher-Scholar by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, and has served as a consultant to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Her research interests were in the area of the molecular mechanisms of protein synthesis and transcriptional regulation of ribosomal RNA genes.
Dr. Scott R. Santos
Dr. Scott R. Santos is an Empire Innovation Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Previously, he was a professor at Auburn University from 2004-2021 and served as Chair for the Department of Biological Sciences there from 2018-2021. His research, resulting in over 100 articles to date, utilizes a variety of molecular tools, computational approaches and field- and laboratory-based studies to examine the genetics, genomic evolution, ecological physiology, and symbiosis biology of a range of terrestrial and aquatic (both freshwater and marine) organisms, including host- and environmentally-associated microbiomes. Santos was awarded the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) Dean's Research Award and Graduate Student Council Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award while at Auburn University. He served as a Program Director in the NSF Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) from 2015-2017 and been a panelist for other national and international funding agencies on numerous occasions. He is also keenly interested in fostering diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the biological sciences. Santos received his B.S. with Distinction in Zoology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 1996, his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2002 under an NSF Minority Graduate Fellowship and was a post-doctorate at the University of Arizona from 2002-2004.
Dr. Paul Turner
Dr. Paul Turner is the Elihu Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University, and faculty member in Microbiology at Yale School of Medicine. He studies the evolutionary genetics of viruses, particularly bacteriophages that specifically infect bacterial pathogens, and RNA viruses that are vector-transmitted by mosquitoes. His service to the profession includes Chair of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Division on Evolutionary and Genomic Microbiology, as well as membership on the National Science Foundationâs Biological Sciences Advisory Committee, ASM Committee on Minority Education, and multiple National Research Council advisory committees. Dr. Turner was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, Councilor of the American Genetic Association, Chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Microbial Population Biology, and Chair of the CNRS Jacques Monod Conference on Viral Emergence. He chaired the Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship award committee for ASM, and received the E.E. Just Endowed Research Fellowship and William Townsend Porter Award from Marine Biological Laboratory, and fellowships from Woodrow Wilson Foundation, NSF, NIH and HHMI. Dr. Turner has served as Director of Graduate Studies and as Chair of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at Yale, as well as Yaleâs Dean of Science and Chair of the Biological Sciences Tenure Promotion Committee.
Dr. Kennedy S. Wekesa
Dr. Kennedy S. Wekesa serves as the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs at Alabama State University. Prior to this appointment he served as the Dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. He holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Biological Sciences. Over the years, he has been involved in several initiatives aimed at increasing the number of undergraduate and high school minority students participating in STEM with the goal of strengthening their interest to continue on to graduate programs. His research focuses on pheromone recognition and signal transduction in the mammalian vomeronasal organ and the role of pheromones in regulating reproductive and aggressive behaviors. He received his B.S. in Biology from Guilford College, an M.A. in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and his Ph.D. in Zoology from North Carolina State University.