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The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education
The Science of Science Communication: A Research

Members' Bios

Alan Leshner (Chair) (NAM) is chief executive officer, emeritus, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and former executive publisher of the journal Science. Before this position, Dr. Leshner was director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health. He also served as deputy director and acting director of the National Institute of Mental Health and in several roles at the National Science Foundation. Before joining the government, Dr. Leshner was professor of psychology at Bucknell University. He is an elected fellow of AAAS, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Public Administration, and many other professional societies. He is a member and served on the governing council of the National Academy of Medicine (previously the Institute of Medicine). He was appointed by President George W. Bush to the National Science Board in 2004, and then reappointed by President Obama in 2011. Dr. Leshner received Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in physiological psychology from Rutgers University and an A.B. in psychology from Franklin and Marshall College. He has been awarded seven honorary doctor of science degrees.

Dietram Scheufele (Vice Chair) is the John E. Ross professor in science communication in the Department of Life Sciences Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and in the Morgridge Institute for Research. Since 2013, he has also held an honorary professorship at the Dresden University of Technology in Germany. Dr. Scheufele is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the International Communication Association, and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters, and a member of the German National Academy of Science and Engineering. He has been a tenured faculty member at Cornell University, a Shorenstein fellow at Harvard University, and a visiting scholar at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. He received an M.A. in journalism and mass communications and a Ph.D. in mass communications with a minor in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Ann Bostrom is Weyerhaeuser endowed professor of environmental policy at the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Washington. She previously served on the faculty at the Georgia Institute of Technology, 1992-2007, where she was associate dean for research at the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts and professor in the School of Public Policy. Dr. Bostrom co-directed the Decision Risk and Management Science Program at the National Science Foundation, 1999-2001. Her research focuses on risk perception, communication, and management and on environmental policy and decision making under uncertainty. Dr. Bostrom serves as associate editor for the Journal of Risk Research and is on the editorial boards of Risk Analysis and Environmental Hazards. She is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and past president and an elected fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis. She received a Ph.D. in public policy analysis from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.B.A. from Western Washington University, and a B.A. from the University of Washington.

Wändi Bruine de Bruin is university leadership chair in behavioral decision making at the Leeds University Business School, where she also serves as co-director of the Centre for Decision Research. She holds affiliations with Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Southern California, and the RAND Corporation. Her research focuses on behavioral decision making, individual differences in decision-making competence across the life span, and risk perception and communication. Dr. Bruine de Bruin is a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of Risk Research, the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, Medical Decision Making, and Psychology and Aging. She is a member of the Scientific & Technical Committee of the International Risk Governance Council (IRGC), which provides evidence-based advice to international policy makers. She has contributed her expertise to an expert panel report on health product risk communication by the Council of Canadian Academies, as well as to several expert workshops. Dr. Bruine de Bruin received a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in psychology and cognitive psychology, respectively, from Free University Amsterdam and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in behavioral decision theory and psychology from Carnegie Mellon University. 

Karen Cook (NAS) is Ray Lyman Wilbur professor of sociology, director of the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, and vice-provost for faculty development and diversity at Stanford University. She conducts research on social exchange networks, power and influence dynamics, intergroup relations, negotiation strategies, social justice, and trust in social relations. Her research underscores the importance of trust in facilitating exchange relationships and of networks in creating social capital—for example, in physician-patient interaction and its effect on health outcomes. Dr. Cook has edited and co-edited a number of books in the Russell Sage Foundation Trust Series, is co-author of Cooperation without Trust?, and co-edited Sociological Perspectives on Social Psychology. In 1996, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and in 2007 to the National Academy of Sciences. In 2004 she received the Cooley Mead Award of the American Sociological Association’s Social Psychology Section for career contributions to social psychology. Dr. Cook received her M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from Stanford University.

Thomas Dietz is professor of sociology and environmental science and policy at Michigan State University (MSU). He is also co-director of the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessment Center. At MSU he was founding director of the Environmental Science and Policy Program and associate dean in the Colleges of Social Science, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Natural Science. His current research examines the human driving forces of environmental change, environmental values, and the interplay between science and democracy in environmental issues. Dr. Dietz is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is former president of the Society for Human Ecology. He has received the Sustainability Science Award of the Ecological Society of America; the Distinguished Contribution Award and Outstanding Publication Award of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Environment, Technology and Society; and the Gerald R. Young Book Award from the Society for Human Ecology. Dr. Dietz holds a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of California, Davis, and a bachelor of general studies degree from Kent State University.

William K. Hallman is professor and chair of the Department of Human Ecology and a member of the graduate faculty of the Department of Nutritional Sciences and of the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. During the fall of 2016, he was a distinguished visiting fellow at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. His research examines public perceptions of controversial issues concerning food, health, and the environment. A member of several advisory panels and committees, Dr. Hallman recently served as chair of the Risk Communication Advisory Committee of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and co-authored the Risk Communication Applied to Food Safety Handbook, produced jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization. He formerly served as director of the Food Policy Institute at Rutgers. Dr. Hallman is a graduate of Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, and received an M.A. and Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of South Carolina.

Jeffrey R. Henig is professor of political science and education at Teachers College and professor of political science at Columbia University. He is a member of the National Academy of Education and a fellow of the American Education Research Association. Dr. Henig focuses on the intersection of politics and social science research. He is the author, coauthor, or co-editor of eleven books. His 2008 book, Spin Cycle: How Research Gets Used in Policy Debates: The Case of Charter Schools, won the American Educational Research Association’s Outstanding Book Award, and two of his books have been recognized by the Urban Politics Section of the American Political Science Association as the best books on urban politics. In addition to scholarly publications, his writing on contemporary policy issues has been featured in several publications aimed at general audiences. Dr. Henig received a Ph.D. in political science from Northwestern University.

Robert Hornik is Wilbur Schramm professor of communication and health policy at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. Since 2013 he has been co-director of the Penn Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science, a first-of-its-kind regulatory science research enterprise aimed at informing the regulation of tobacco products to protect public health. Dr. Hornik led the Center of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research at the University of Pennsylvania, 2003-2014. His most recent research focuses on how Americans are affected by their exposure to information about cancer prevention, screening, and treatment; the effects of new and old media content on tobacco-related beliefs and behavior among youth and young adults; and the development and validation of methods for choosing preferred message themes for communication campaigns. Dr. Hornik has particular expertise in research methods for determining the effects of public health communication interventions and of media exposure. He received an A.B. in international relations from Dartmouth College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in communication research from Stanford University.

Andrew Maynard is professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University, and director of the Risk Innovation Lab, focused on public thinking and action related to risk in the context of technology innovations. His research explores the responsible development and use of emerging technologies, including nanotechnology and synthetic biology, and science communication and public engagement on these issues. He is widely published and has testified before the U.S. Congress on several occasions regarding nanotechnology policy and research needs related to nanotechnology risk. Dr. Maynard is a regular contributor to a special column of the journal Nature Nanotechnology and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Responsible Innovation. He works closely with and through conventional and new media to connect with audiences around the world on technology innovation and the science of risk. He received a B.Sc. in physics from the University of Birmingham (U.K.) and a Ph.D. in aerosol physics from the University of Cambridge (U.K.).

Matthew Nisbet is associate professor of communication studies and affiliate associate professor of public policy and urban affairs at Northeastern University. He is editor-in-chief of the journal Environmental Communication and a founding senior editor at ORE Climate Science. Nisbet studies the role of communication, media, and public opinion in debates over science, technology, and the environment. He is the author of more than 70 peer-reviewed studies, scholarly book chapters, and reports. Dr. Nisbet has been a visiting Shorenstein fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, a health policy investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google science communication fellow. In 2011, the editors of the journal Nature recommended his research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism.” Dr. Nisbet’s consulting experience includes analysis on behalf of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academies, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other public- and private-sector clients. He holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in communication from Cornell University.

Ellen M. Peters is professor of psychology and director of the Decision Sciences Collaborative at Ohio State University. Her research focuses on understanding the basic building blocks of human judgment and decision making, in particular how affective, intuitive, and deliberative processes help people make decisions in an increasingly complex world. Dr. Peters has authored more than 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts and has worked extensively with the U.S. National Cancer Institute and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to advance the science of human decision making as it applies to health and health policy. She is former president of the Society for Judgment and Decision Making; former chair of the FDA’s Risk Communication Advisory Committee; and a fellow of the American Psychological Association, Association for Psychological Science, and Society of Experimental Psychology. She has been awarded the Jane Beattie Scientific Recognition Award, a National Institutes of Health Merit Award, and two Best Paper Awards from Risk Analysis. Dr. Peters received a B.S. in economics and B.S.E. in systems engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.S. and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Oregon. 

Sylvia Rowe is president of SR Strategy, which facilitates science communication and policy on a broad range of global health, nutrition, food safety, and risk issues. She is also an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Ms. Rowe is an experienced communication practitioner with particular expertise in bringing diverse groups together around policy issues related to food, nutrition, and health. Previously, she served as president and chief executive officer of the International Food Information Council (IFIC) and IFIC Foundation. She is also a member of the International Women’s Leadership Forum and the National Press Club, among other professional groups. Ms. Rowe’s background in media and expertise in issues management are reflected in her professional history as a producer and on-air host of several television and radio talk shows covering social, political, and economic and consumer issues. She also previously held positions in public relations, marketing, and membership development for several diverse associations. Ms. Rowe received a bachelor's degree from Wellesley College and a master’s degree from Harvard University. 

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