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Staff changes in Antarctic Sciences

Dear Colleagues,

I am writing to announce several recent and upcoming personnel changes within Antarctic Sciences Section (ANT) in the Office of Polar Programs (POLAR).

Antarctic Integrated System Science (AISS) Program

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Lisa Clough has returned to Antarctic Sciences as a permanent Program Director. Dr. Clough brings to the Foundation significant experience in dealing with research in complex natural systems as well as in research administration. Her experience is grounded by her extensive background in ecological research and enhanced both with her prior experience at NSF as a rotator in AISS and her subsequent work fostering interdisciplinary coastal, biological, and medical research in her role as Associate Vice Chancellor for Research at East Carolina University. In addition to the existing AISS portfolio, Dr. Clough will be responsible for managing the two Antarctic LTER awards. Lisa can be reached at 703-292-4746 or

I would like to thank Dr. Sonia Esperança who served as interim Program Director for the AISS program prior to Dr. Clough's return to NSF. Sonia brought her broad experience as a Program Officer at NSF as well as many new perspectives to Antarctic Sciences from her full-time position in the Division of Earth Sciences. While Sonia has returned to her role as Program Director for Petrology and Geochemistry in Earth Sciences, her efforts have strengthened the programmatic ties between our Divisions and I expect this to benefit NSF far into the future.

Antarctic Earth Sciences (AES) Program

Dr. Alexandra Isern, who has managed the AES for several years, has temporarily taken on a new role in the Section as the Antarctic Research and Logistics Integration Program Officer with responsibilities that cross all programs in the Section. She will be the lead for long-term planning and for integrating science planning in the Antarctic Science Section with research support planning in the Antarctic Logistics and Infrastructure Section. Also, she will be responsible for developing the Section's investment in instrumentation as part of the Foundation's response to the recent high-level review of the U.S. Antarctic Program. To allow Alex to take on this substantial new role, Dr. Mark Kurz (see below) will be coming to work in the AES Program as a rotator. Dr. Isern will remain involved with the AES Program to ensure continuity for long-term or particularly complex projects.

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Mark Kurz will be joining the Section later this month as a rotator in the Antarctic Earth Sciences Program. Mark is a talented and accomplished geochemist who comes to NSF from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He brings deep experience in geochemistry applied to broad problems in the Geosciences, including experience in Antarctic research. He also brings extensive research administration and community service experience from his service as Chair of the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department at WHOI and from service on national level review panels convened by NSF and NRC. Mark is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Geochemical Society. Mark will begin working with ANT on 22 April on a part-time basis and will begin a full-time appointment on 1 July. Contact information for Mark will be posted on the Foundation's staff directory and on the Section's organization chart when he arrives later this month.

Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems (AOE) Program

Dr. Diana Nemergut, who has managed the AOE Program since March 2012 will soon be returning to Colorado and her research and teaching responsibilities. Diana brought many new insights and ideas about trends in biological and ecosystem research to the Section and to NSF, and we will miss this significant contribution to the U.S. Antarctic Program. However, Diana has agreed to assist with a transition to a new rotator (see below) and so will remain in a part-time role until mid August, after completion of this year's proposal review panel. This will ensure that the merit review process for AOE proposals submitted in mid April will move forward without interruption and will ensure a smooth transition of program officers for the Program. Dr. Nemergut continues to be accessible at or via phone at 703-292-7448 (voice messages only) or 303-735-1239.

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Charles (Chuck) Amsler will be joining ANT in early June as a rotator in the Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Program. Dr. Amsler comes from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and brings to ANT extensive research and teaching experience in organismal- and cellular-level biology in both polar and non-polar environments. His fieldwork includes 16 expeditions to Antarctica since 1985, with work at both Palmer and McMurdo Stations. In addition, Dr. Amsler has substantial experience as editor for high-profile journals and has served in successive leadership roles, culminating with President of the Phycological Society of America. Contact information for Chuck will be posted on the Foundation's staff directory and on the Section's organization chart when he arrives.

These staff changes offer an important opportunity to advance the high-priority science and science support directions of the U.S. Antarctic Program in new and interesting directions. I'm delighted to have such a talented and engaged group of Program Officers to serve in these roles and hope you will join me in welcoming them to NSF.


Scott Borg
Head, Antarctic Sciences

Posted 04/08/2013

glaciers and mountains

Glaciers flowing through the Transantarctic Mountains. NSF photo.