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Staff Directory

Alan J Tessier

(703) 292-8400
C 12006
Deputy Assistant Director


Alan J. Tessier is currently serving as the Deputy Assistant Director in the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) at the National Science Foundation (NSF). He was the Deputy Division Director in the Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) in BIO from 2015 to 2018. Prior to 2015, he served for a decade as a Program Director in the Population and Community Ecology cluster of DEB.  He received a BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Population Biology from the University of Pennsylvania.  Prior to joining the National Science Foundation, he was a Professor in the Department of Zoology and the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station at Michigan State University.  During his 17-year tenure at Michigan State he maintained a research program in ecology and evolutionary biology, served as principal investigator on more than a dozen NSF research awards and authored more than 50 peer-reviewed publications. 

At NSF, Dr. Tessier has served as Executive Secretary and Chair of the Working Group for the Environmental Research and Education coordination activity from 2006 to 2010, as acting Division Director for DEB in 2015, and 2018, as acting Deputy Division Director in DEB during 2006-2007, and during 2013-2015, and as Program Director in the Population and Community Ecology Cluster of that division during 2004-2014.  He has served on several interdisciplinary programs including the Research Coordination Networks, the Interdisciplinary Training for Undergraduates in the Biological and Mathematical Sciences, Sustainability Research Networks, INSPIRE, and the Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems.  He led a joint EPA-NSF working group to establish a Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, and served as the managing Program Director for the two centers awarded from that competition from 2008-2015. 

Professional Experience

Deputy Assistant Director - Directorate for Biological Sciences 2018+

Deputy Division Director - NSF Division of Environmental Biology 2015-2018 

Division Director (acting) - NSF Division of Environmental Biology, 2015, 2018

Deputy Division Director (acting) - NSF Division of Environmental Biology, 2013-2015

Program Director - Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology, 2008-2015

Program Director - Dynamics of Coupled Natural-Human Systems, 2007-2012

Executive Secretary and Working Group Chair - NSF Environmental Research and Education 2006-09

Deputy Division Director (acting) - NSF Division Environmental Biology 2006-07

Program Director - NSF, Division Environmental Biology 2004-2013

Professor - Michigan State University, Assistant -1987-92, Associate-1992-1998, Full-1998-2004

Lecturer - Department of Biology, Swarthmore College, 1985-87

Visiting Assistant Professor - Zoology Department, University of Rhode Island, 1984-85

Research Associate - The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 1981-87 


Federal Executive Institute (Leadership for a Democratic Society) 2008

University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D., 1981, Ecology and Population Biology

Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, 1975-76, Botany

Cornell University, B.S., 1973-77, Ecology, Systematics and Evolution