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Office of Polar Programs Advisory Committee —
Member Biographies

Cecilia Bitz, Chair

Dr. Bitz is an associate professor in atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington. Her research interests include climate dynamics, climate change, ice-climate interactions, arctic sea-ice predictability, sea-ice biogeochemistry, global climate modeling, and sea-ice model development.

The primary tools for her research are a variety of climate models, from simple reduced models to sophisticated climate system models. She teaches classes in global climate modeling, ice and climate interactions, and many other topics. She recently served on the U.S. National Research Council's Climate Research Committee and is currently a member of the advisory boards for the Community Climate System Model and the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office.

Paul Bierman

Dr. Bierman is a professor of geology and natural resources at the University of Vermont.  Bierman received his B.A. in Geology from Williams College and his graduate degrees from the University of Washington.  He is a geomorphologist and geochemist with interests focusing on rates of weathering and denudation as well as geologic dating. For more than two decades, Bierman has examined earth surface processes at scales ranging from micron-thick coatings of rock varnish to the evolution of Australian, African, and Arctic landscapes.  His research expertise includes the application of cosmogenic nuclides to a wide variety of geomorphic settings and problems including measuring the rate of bedrock weathering, dating changes in the Greenland Ice Sheet, constraining the age of sea-level changes over the Quaternary, and developing techniques to estimate background rates of sediment generation for management of disturbed landscapes.  He has worked around the world including South Africa, Namibia, Israel, Brazil, Greenland, Arctic Canada, Australia, and much of North America. 

Bierman directs the University of Vermont Cosmogenic Nuclide Extraction Lab — one of only a handful of laboratories in the country dedicated to the preparation of samples for analysis of 10-Be and 26-Al from pure quartz ( In 1996, Bierman was the recipient of the Geological Society of America’s Donath Medal as the most promising young geologist in the country.  He was also the recipient of NSF’s Director’s Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars, in 2005.  Bierman has served on numerous National Science Foundation review panels, has been associate editor of the Geological Society of America Bulletin, and has served as chairperson of the 1,500-member Quaternary Geology and Geomorphology Division of the Geological Society of America.  Bierman has been primary advisor to 5 Ph.D. and 26 MS students.

Bierman, working with his collaborators and graduate students, has published 81 papers in refereed journals and presented more than 225 meeting abstracts. Bierman is the lead author of a new Geomorphology textbook to be published in 2012 and is the junior author for two editions of an Environmental Geology textbook.  He has published nine peer-reviewed book chapters relating to landscape change and the application of cosmogenic nuclides to problems in Earth Surface Processes.

Mary-Elena Carr

Dr. Carr, biological oceanographer, is the Associate Director of the Columbia Climate Center at the Earth Institute, Columbia University in New York City.

To meet the challenge of climate change, Dr. Carr coordinates multi-disciplinary education initiatives and leads research at the boundary of social and physical sciences, including projects that evaluate the impact of government policies on greenhouse gas emissions and responding to claims of those skeptical of climate science. She founded the Columbia Climate Center blog, Climate Matters@Columbia, to meet the Climate Center mission to improve communication between climate scientists and the users of climate information from the general public to policy makers.

Before joining Columbia University, she carried out research in oceanography. As a Research Scientist at Cal Tech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory between 1996 and 2005, she used observations made from satellites and numerical models to quantify the pathways of carbon into and within the ocean. Between 2005 and 2007 Carr was Associate Program Director in Biological Oceanography at the National Science Foundation. She has been a member of the scientific steering committees of the U.S. Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry program and the international Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystems Research program. She received her Ph.D. from Dalhousie University and her B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the University of Barcelona.

C-H Christina Cheng

Dr. Cheng is an associate professor in the Department of Animal Biology and the Graduate Program of Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her ongoing research aims at understanding the evolutionary changes in genes, gene expression, and genomes, including the innovation of crucial cold-adaptive traits, such as the antifreeze proteins in polar teleost fishes, in response to strong selection pressures from the freezing polar seas.

Her polar fish research spanned over 2 decades in the Antarctic and 12 years in the Arctic.  To fully appreciate the linkage between environmental selection and evolutionary responses, her work integrates past and present polar thermal histories, species evolutionary history, organismal physiology, protein structure-function, molecular evolution, and more recently  transcriptomes and whole genome sequence analyses.  The clear evolutionary mechanisms of polar fish antifreeze protein genes that she, her students, and co-workers deciphered have become prime examples of molecular evolution of genetic novelty in both academic and popular science texts.  Recent comparative transcriptome analyses of Antarctic and non-Antarctic fish species by her and her collaborators have provided the first system-wide view of cold-driven evolutionary shifts in gene transcription and genome content in Antarctic notothenioid fish.  She is a prime driver in a joint effort between her group, the Institute of Development and Genetics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and BGI, in whole genome sequencing and characterization of the first Antarctic notothenioid species — the Antarctic toothfish — expected to reach completion in 2012.

David J. Closs

Dr. Closs is the John H. McConnell Chaired Professor of Business Administration and Chairperson of the Department of Supply Chain Management at Michigan State University.

Dr. Closs has been extensively involved in the development and application of computer models and information systems for logistics operations and planning, inventory management, forecasting and transportation applications.  He has worked with over 100 of the Fortune 500 corporations on projects involving logistics strategy and systems in the consumer products, medical and pharmaceutical products and parts industries.  Dr. Closs actively participates in logistics executive development seminars and has presented sessions in North America, South America, Asia, Australia, and Eastern Europe.

Dr. Closs has authored and co-authored numerous articles and made presentations regarding world-class logistics and supply chain capabilities and logistics information systems applications.  He is a co-author of Supply Chain Logistics Management;, 21stCentury Logistics: Making Supply Chain Integration a Reality; Logistical Management: The Integrated Supply Chain Perspective;, World Class Logistics: The Challenge of Managing Continuous Changeand Simulated Product Sales Forecasting.  In addition, he has published papers in the Journal of Business Logistics, Journal of Operations Management, European Journal of Operations Research, Transportation Journal, Supply Chain Management Review, The International Journal of Logistics Management, International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics Management,and Logistics Quarterly.

Dr. Closs is a member in the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals and The Supply Chain Council and is on the Board of Directors of the Supply Chain Council.  He was Editor of the Journal of Business Logistics and is Executive Editor of Logistics Quarterly.

Mark A. Fahnestock

Dr. Fahnestock received a B.S. in Geology from the University of Rochester in 1984 and a doctorate in Geology from the California Institute of Technology in 1991. Since that time, he has worked as a glaciologist investigating ice flow mechanics and surface conditions on the large ice sheets. After studying Alaskan glaciers as a graduate student, he moved to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to investigate surface conditions and ice flow in Greenland and Antarctica. He took a position at the University of Maryland in 1995, working as an Assistant Research Scientist in a cooperative center for Earth System Science (now the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center). He started at the University of New Hampshire in May 2002.

His research focuses the role of land-based ice in the earth system. Results from work with numerous collaborators have included the recognition of a large ice stream in northeast Greenland and of the rapid basal melting likely responsible for this rapid ice flow; the first high-resolution radar mosaic of an ice sheet, illustrating both flow features and firn conditions on a large scale; development of a relationship between surface melting and the failure of ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula; contributions to the use of InSAR for mapping ice-flow velocity and surface topography; techniques for mapping detailed topography from visible-band satellite imagery; the recent history of ice flow variations on the Ross Ice Shelf mapped from enhanced imagery; and work on the controls on rapid ice flow in Antarctica and Greenland. He has also contributed to work on measuring ice discharge in Greenland and has participated in two Antarctic and four Greenland field excursions. His recent interests focus on the controls underlying rapid ice flow and on atmospheric interactions that determine surface conditions on the large ice sheets. The primary tools for this work are satellite-derived and surface observations and interactions with ice sheet modelers.

Recent community service includes sitting on the Alaska SAR Facility Users Group, an NRC committee to advise NASA about Polar Geophysical Data Sets, the Radarsat Antarctic Mapping Project Scientific Advisory Group, the scientific steering committee for NSF ARCSS Arctic-CHAMP (pan-Arctic Community-wide Hydrological Analysis and Monitoring Program) and serving as an Associate Editor for JGR Atmospheres.

Linda Green

Dr. Green is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Arizona and Director of the Center for Latin American Studies. She received her MA and Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Green also received a Master in Public Health from The Johns Hopkins University. Her research, though divergent in orientation, converges around the central theoretical problematic, of how to think dialectically about complex issues of culture, community, violence, and suffering. Her work attempts to trace historical shifts in vulnerability, particularly among peoples across the Americas whose primary identity is indigenous. Dr. Green conducts field research in rural Guatemala, the U.S.-Mexico border, and rural Alaska. Her monograph Fear as a Way of Life: Mayan Widows in Rural Guatemala was published by Columbia University Press (1999) is soon to be published in Spanish in Guatemala.

To Die in the Silence of History: Tuberculosis among Yup’ik peoples of southwestern Alaska is in manuscript preparation. This 3-year ethnographic and archival research project, funded by the National Science Foundation, explores the social consequences of the tuberculosis epidemics that ravaged Native communities, especially the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region during the mid-twentieth century. The manuscript highlights the social consequences of the tuberculosis epidemics of the twentieth century that have been largely overlooked in understanding contemporary Yup’ik lives.

Dr. Green current research, The Invisible Wounds of War, also funded by the National Science Foundation, examines the ways in which Yup’ik combat veterans from Native villages across southwestern Alaska reintegrate into communities with the accompanying stresses of combat. This research seeks to grasp the human and social consequences of war on Yup’ik men’s lives who have served in combat in the U.S. military from three eras — the Vietnam War, the First Gulf War, and the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Linda Hayden

Dr. Linda Hayden holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics and Education. She is a professor in the department of Mathematics and Computer Science and the Director of the Center of Excellence in Remote Sensing Education and Research (CERSER). CERSER works in partnership with federal agencies, other universities, and private corporations on education and research projects, which include CReSIS (focusing on radar and seismic mapping of rapidly changing glacier zones in polar regions to determine impact on global warming and sea level rise). She is Principal Investigator on the NSF CyberInfrastructure for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets REU, the Undergraduate Research Experience (URE) program funded by the Office of Naval Research and a NASA Innovations in Global Climate Change Project.

Dr. Hayden was presented the 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring by the National Science Foundation. She also received the Emerald Award for Educational Leadership from Black Engineers Magazine and most recently the Noble Laureate Faculty Award from NAFEO. She holds an IEEE-USA Award for Professional Achievement, which acknowledges outstanding accomplishment in cultivating student interests in remote sensing, supporting both their involvement in and research presentations at IEEE-Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society conferences.

Orville H. Huntington

Mr. Huntington is presently the Chair of the Interior Athabascan Tribal College and is serving as the Interior Villages Representative on the Alaska Federation of Natives Board for the 43 villages in the Doyon area.

Mr. Huntington works with professors, non-profit organizations, and colleges regarding the issue of "Climate Change Impacts and the Sustainability of Rural Communities." He also uses and continues to develop the Native American Traditional Ecological Knowledge database.

His research interests are the direct and indirect impacts of subsistence use on fish, animals, and plants of northern ecosystems; the evaluation of current policy and regulations and their affects on the subsistence methods and means of harvesting fish, wildlife, and plants. He is also committed to education and outreach projects that help non-Alaskans understand the culture and subsistence lifestyle of his people.

He has give keynote speeches at various Arctic Research Consortium Arctic Forums and has spoken on panels at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. In 2000, he participated in the Arctic Visiting Speakers' program as a presenter at the Marine Science Institute at Part Aransas, Texas.

John Isbell

Dr. Isbell is a professor of geosciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He received his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in 1990 in geological sciences, a master’s degree in Geology from Northern Illinois University, and a bachelor’s degree in Geology from Augustana College. He is a sedimentologist and stratigrapher who works on strata associated with the Late Paleozoic Ice Age (LPIA) and the record of environmental change during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic. His work focuses on identifying physical processes and conditions at the time of deposition in glacial, glaciomarine, fluvial, shallow-marine, and deep-marine environments with an emphasis on defining the timing, extent, duration, nature, and driving mechanisms of glaciation during the Carboniferous and Permian. He has investigated the LPIA in Antarctica, South America, southern Africa, and Australia. His current funding includes field work in Antarctica, South America, and northern Siberia.

As of April 2012, Dr. Isbell’s Antarctic experience includes 14 field seasons working in the Transantarctic Mountains and one field season working on sea ice. He has deployed into the deep field, worked out of field camps, and has also worked out of McMurdo in the Dry Valleys region. He has experience in establishing deep field camps (4- to 10-person tent camps and helicopter-supported base camps) using both fixed-wing aircraft (LC-130, Twin Otter, and Basler) and helicopters. His work has also required extensive travel by snowmobile on glaciers along the polar plateau side of the Transantarctic Mountains. He has served on steering committees associated with workshops for the establishment of several deep field camps, and in 2003-04 he served as Chief Scientist at the Beardmore Field Camp.

Dr. Isbell is the author/co-author of over 60 refereed publications, has served as an Associate Editor of the journal PALAIOS, has co-edited the Geological Society of America Special Paper 441 (Resolving the late Paleozoic Ice Age in Time and Space), and is co-editing a special volume of the journal Gondwana Research. He is a member of the Society of Sedimentary Geology (SEPM), the International Association of Sedimentologists, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and is a Fellow with the Geological Society of America. He also works with teachers in southeastern Wisconsin giving them research experience in geology and in helping them to build stronger science curriculums.

Jeanne Kosch

Jeanne Kosch is a senior program manager with over 30 years’ experience in creating and managing innovative and cost effective national scale and long-term occupational safety, health, and environmental programs. She is skilled in policy analysis, policy development program, program evaluation, injury prevention, risk management, accident investigation, environmental management, and working with diverse international groups and cultures while using a national and international network of professional contact in and out of government.

Jeanne was selected to serve as the first Director of Occupational Safety, Health, and Environment at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). She built, staffed, and planned for resources to sustain the office in meeting mission responsibilities. She collaborated, negotiated, and built coalitions with inter- and intra-agency offices on safety, health, and environmental issues.  She served as a certified Program Manager with responsibilities that included multimillion dollar contracts for direct field support, Industrial Hygiene studies, the Safety Information System, and Job Hazard Analysis, environmental issues, and the TSA Health Clinic. She developed broad tenants for a Safety Information System that involves a relational database for collecting and analyzing information such as injuries, job hazard analysis findings, and safety inspection reports. The result was to have a one-step system that incorporated all injury data in one place rather than multiple databases.

Prior to TSA, Jeanne held various positions in Defense and Transportation with an emphasis on reducing injuries, accomplishing the mission, and protecting the environment. She executed the safety program at the Department of Transportation involving over 100,000 employees, approximately 15,000 facilities and 8,000 motor vehicles. She worked internationally in developing safety standards based on unique military requirements and respect for the German political environment. She led the project that set the safety criteria for live fire and training ranges synthesizing safety and environmental concerns with the Army training mission both domestic and international. Ms. Kosch performed a special safety program evaluation of the Multinational Forces in Sinai, Egypt, involving 11 nations.

Ms. Kosch holds a Masters in Public Administration from the Pennsylvania State University. While enrolled in the Doctoral Program in Public Administration at the University of Southern California, her areas of concentration were leadership and program evaluation.

Dennis J. McGillicuddy, Jr.

Dennis J. McGillicuddy, Jr. is a Senior Scientist in the Department of Applied Ocean Physics and Engineering at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. His primary research interest is the interface between the fluid dynamics and the biology of the sea. He has pursued physical-biological-chemical interactions in four contexts: (1) the role of eddies in biogeochemical cycling of the open ocean, (2) impacts of coastal circulation on zooplankton dynamics, (3) the dynamics of harmful algal blooms, and (4) larval dispersal in deep-sea vent communities.

Dr. McGillicuddy's first foray into polar research is currently underway with a project entitled Processes Regulating Iron Supply at the Mesoscale (PRISM). In austral summer 2011-2012 he served as chief scientist on the R/V Nathaniel B. Palmer on a voyage to the Ross Sea in pursuit of PRISM objectives.

Dr. McGillicuddy received his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1993 and joined the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution later that year as a Postdoctoral Scholar. He was appointed to the scientific staff in 1996. He is author or co-author of over 80 refereed publications.

Dr. McGillicuddy has been very active in the oversight of large interdisciplinary oceanographic programs on both national and international levels, having served on the scientific steering committees of the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study, the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Program, and the Global Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms. Dr. McGillicuddy currently serves as Deputy Director of the Woods Hole Center for Oceans and Human Health.

Christopher L. Martin

Dr. Martin is an associate professor of physics and astronomy at Oberlin College where his research interests include studying the Milky Way galaxy using submillimeter and terahertz radio astronomy using ground- and space-based telescopes as well as remote sensing of the Earth's mesosphere. After receiving a B.A. from Rice University and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, he joined the staff of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). While with the CfA, Dr. Martin began his involvement with Antarctic science, eventually wintering-over twice at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station and serving as the South Pole Station Science Leader in 2001 and 2003. Currently, he leads an international team on a key project of the European Space Agency's Herschel Space Observatory while also acting as lead flight controller for a NASA-funded long duration balloon project, the Stratospheric Terahertz Observatory, launched from McMurdo Station in 2012.

In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Martin is actively involved in science policy, and served as the 2010-11 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Congressional Fellow, where he was a staffer with the US Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee which has oversight responsibility for the National Science Foundation. He helped pass the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-358) and now looks forward explaining the intricacies of the policy world to fellow scientists and the general public.

Eric Post

Dr. Post is a professor of ecology in the Department of Biology at Pennsylvania State University, and an honorary professor in the Department of Arctic Environment at Aarhus University, Denmark.

Dr. Post earned his Ph.D. in Biology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, in 1995, and a B.S. in Biology at the University of Minnesota, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1989. Before joining the faculty at Pennsylvania State University in 2000, Dr. Post was an NSF post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at the University of Oslo, Norway, and a Norwegian Science Council post-doctoral fellow in the same department.

Dr. Post’s research focuses on ecological responses to climate change in the Arctic, integrating scales of response from individual organisms to ecosystems; scales of time from intra-seasonal to interannual dynamics; methods of approach, including observation, field experimentation, and mathematical and statistical modeling; and an array of taxa, including plants and animals and their interactions.

Jordan G. Powers

Dr. Powers is a Project Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado.  He received a B.A. in Mathematics and Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia.  Also an attorney, Dr. Powers received a J.D. from Stanford University, practiced law in California, and is a member of the California Bar Association.  He received both an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington.  He has worked at NCAR since the early 1990s.

Dr. Powers is in the Mesoscale and Microscale Meteorology (MMM) Division of the NCAR Environmental Systems Laboratory.  His work and research focus on the application of numerical models to study and predict weather phenomena, and his scientific interests include NWP, Antarctic meteorology, and synoptic meteorology.  He heads the Real-Time Systems Subgroup of the Mesoscale Prediction Group in the MMM Division.  He is the NCAR WRF (Weather Research and Forecasting model) manager and chairs the WRF Release Committee. 

Having led numerous projects at NCAR in the development of real-time NWP systems since 2000, he has headed the Antarctic Mesoscale Prediction System (AMPS) effort.  AMPS provides real-time numerical weather guidance for the U.S. Antarctic Program and serves other nations with scientific operations in Antarctica.  Dr. Powers is the managing scientist for NCAR’s mesoscale model support, research, and development for the U.S. Air Force (Air Force Weather Agency).  He has published papers on mesoscale model research, development, and applications and has lectured on the MM5, WRF, and their applications.  He serves on various conference organizing committees as well as advisory committees for the NSF program EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) and for the Office of Polar Programs (OPP).  He is a reviewer for journals in the atmospheric sciences, such as Monthly Weather Review, Journal of Geophysical Research, and the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

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