Rita R. Colwell [NAS]*, Chair
Distinguished University Professor
University of Maryland, College Park, and
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Rita Colwell is Distinguished University Professor both at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Senior Advisor and Chairman Emeritus, Canon US Life Sciences, Inc., and President and CEO of CosmosID, Inc. Her interests are focused on global infectious diseases, water, and health, and she is currently developing an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and water issues, including safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world. Colwell served as the 11th Director of the National Science Foundation, 1998-2004. In her capacity as NSF Director, she served as Co-chair of the Committee on Science of the National Science and Technology Council. Colwell has held many advisory positions in the U.S. Government, nonprofit science policy organizations, and private foundations, as well as in the international scientific research community. She is a nationally-respected scientist and educator, and has authored or co-authored 17 books and more than 750 scientific publications. She produced the award-winning film, Invisible Seas, and has served on editorial boards of numerous scientific journals. Before going to NSF, Colwell was President of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute and Professor of Microbiology and Biotechnology at the University Maryland. She was also a member of the National Science Board from 1984 to 1990. Colwell has previously served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology and also as President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Washington Academy of Sciences, the American Society for Microbiology, the Sigma Xi National Science Honorary Society, and the International Union of Microbiological Societies. She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, the Royal Society of Canada, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. She is Immediate Past-President of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS). Colwell has also been awarded 55 honorary degrees from institutions of higher education and received numerous awards. Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, Dr. Colwell holds a B.S. in Bacteriology and an M.S. in Genetics, from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Washington.
Alice M. Agogino [NAE]
Roscoe and Elizabeth Hughes Professor of Mechanical Engineering
University of California at Berkeley
Alice M. Agogino is the Roscoe and Elizabeth Hughes Professor of Mechanical Engineering and an affiliated faculty at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) Haas School of Business. She also directs the Berkeley Expert Systems Technology Laboratory and the Berkeley Instructional Technology Studio. She has served in a number of administrative positions at UCB including associate dean of engineering and faculty assistant to the executive vice chancellor and provost in educational development and technology. She continues as principal investigator for the National Engineering Education Delivery System and the digital libraries of courseware in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. She received a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of New Mexico (1975), an MS in mechanical engineering (1978) from the UCB, and Ph.D. from the Department of Engineering-Economic Systems at Stanford University (1984). She is a member of the Association of Women in Science and was awarded the NSF Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars in 2004. She served as a member of the COSEPUP Committee on Women in Academic Science and Engineering. She is a Council member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Joan W. Bennett [NAS]
Professor, Department of Plant Biology and Pathology
Associate Vice President, Office for Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics
Joan W. Bennett is a professor in Department of Plant Biology and Pathology and the associate vice president for The Office for Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics at Rutgers University. She is a past president of the American Society for Microbiology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Bennett has done work in fungal genetics as well as in women’s studies. She taught a popular course Biology of Women beginning in 1976 while she was at Tulane University (1971-2006). She is currently a leader of her institution’s NSF ADVANCE project on women faculty. Bennett earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and history from Upsala College, and a master’s and doctorate degree in botany from the University of Chicago.
Jeremy M. Berg [IOM]
Associate Senior Vice Chancellor for Science Strategy and Planning (Health Sciences)
Professor, Computational and Systems Biology
University of Pittsburgh
Jeremy M. Berg moved to his present position in Pittsburgh in July 2012 with his wife Wendie Berg,M.D, Ph.D., a leading breast imaging researcher, now at Magee-Womens Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to coming to Pittsburgh, Dr. Berg served as director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) at NIH from November 2003 to June 2011. There, he oversaw a $2 billion budget that funded basic research in the areas of cell biology, biophysics, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, physiology, biological chemistry, bioinformatics and computational biology. At NIH, he was a founding member of the NIH working group on Women in Biomedical Careers. Before moving to NIH, Berg directed the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, where he also served as professor and director of the department of biophysics and biophysical chemistry. Berg received B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemistry from Stanford University in 1980, a Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University in 1985, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the department of biophysics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He and Wendie have three children.
Robert J. Birgeneau [NAS]
University of California, Berkeley
Robert J. Birgeneau was the Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley from September 2004 through May 2013. An internationally distinguished physicist, Birgeneau is a leader in higher education and is well known for his commitment to diversity and equity in the academic community. Before coming to Berkeley, Birgeneau served four years as President of the University of Toronto. He previously was Dean of the School of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he spent 25 years on the faculty. Before joining MIT, he was a member of the technical staff at Bell Laboratories from 1968 to 1975. Birgeneau is a fellow of the US National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of London, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and other scholarly societies. He has received many awards for teaching as well as research on the fundamental properties of materials. Birgeneau is also the leader of the Lincoln Project, an initiative of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences both to advocate for the importance of public colleges and universities and to devise strategies to reverse the progressive disinvestment in public higher education by government. A Toronto native, Birgeneau received his B.Sc. in mathematics from the University of Toronto in 1963 and Ph.D. in physics from Yale University in 1966.
Vivian W. Pinn [IOM]
Senior Scientist Emerita, Fogarty International Center, and
Former Director, Office of Research on Women's Health
National Institutes of Health
Vivian W. Pinn is the former Director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health in National Institutes of Health (NIH). She was the first full-time Director of the Office of Research on Women’s Health in the Office of the Director of NIH, appointed in 1991. She came to NIH from Howard University’s College of Medicine in Washington, DC, where she had been Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology, and she has previously held appointments at Tufts University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School. She has been invited to present the ORWH’s mandate, programs, and initiatives to many national and international organizations with an interest in improving women’s health, the health of minorities, and careers in bioscience for women and minorities. She has received numerous honors, awards, and recognitions and has been granted ten honorary degrees of laws and science since 1992. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM).
Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering
Rochester Institute of Technology
Patricia Taboada-Serrano is Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Rochester Institute of Technology. She was born in Brazil and raised in Bolivia. She is a chemical engineer, has a M.Sc. in chemical engineering and a Ph.D. in environmental engineering. She has worked as a research and development engineer at the Center for Applied Research in Bolivia, a postdoctoral research associate at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and an instructor at Simon Bolivar University (Venezuela), and the Catholic University (Bolivia). She has over twenty scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, numerous conference presentations, and two patents pending. Her research interests include nanothermodynamics and the application of nanotechnology in alternative energy systems. She is a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Bolivian Institute of Engineers, and the InterAmerican Network of Academies of Sciences (IANAS) Women for Science Working Group.
Chief Scientific Officer
Cytonome / ST, LLC
Lydia Villa-Komaroff is a member of the Board of Directors and the Chief Scientific Officer at Cytonome/ST, LLC. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center. During her 20 year research career, she held positions at MIT, Harvard University, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Harvard Medical School. Her research was focused on the molecular biology of protein synthesis, protein processing, and developmental neuroscience. As a science administrator, she served as Vice President for Research at Northwestern University in Illinois and Vice President for Research and Chief Operating Officer of Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, MA. Villa-Komaroff has served on several NRC committees. She is a current member of the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine and was a member of the Committee on U.S. Competitiveness: Underrepresented Groups and Expansion of the Science and Engineering Workforce Pipeline. She was elected to a 4 year term on the Board of Directors of AAAS and was non-executive Chair of the Board of Directors of Transkaryotic Therapies, Inc. Villa-Komaroff received her A.B. from Goucher College and her Ph.D. from MIT.
Susan R. Wessler [NAS]
Distinguished Professor of Genetics
University of California, Riverside
Susan R. Wessler is Distinguished Professor of Genetics in the Department of Botany & Plant Sciences at the University of California, Riverside. Born in New York City, Wessler earned her B.A. at the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1973, and her Ph.D. at Cornell University in 1980. Wessler completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Carnegie Institute of Washington, working on model organisms for maize and grasses. Wessler was a Distinguished Research Professor in the department of plant biology at the University of Georgia, Athens, where she started working in 1983. Wessler was elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences in 1998 and was elected in 2004 to the Council of the National Academy. She was elected as NAS Home Secretary in 2011. She is a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is the recipient of the Creative Research Medal (1991) and the Lamar Dodd Creative Research Award (1997) from the University of Georgia. In addition she was the first recipient of the Distinguished Scientist Award (2007) from the Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA). Her scientific interest focuses on the subject of plant transposable elements and the evolution of plant genomes.
Lilian Wu, Chair (Emeritus), Program Executive, Global University Programs, IBM Corporate
Florence B. Bonner, Senior Vice President for Research and Compliance, Howard University
Allan Fisher, Vice PresidentLaureate Education, Inc.
Pardis Sabeti, Assistant Professor, Harvard University
* Denotes membership in the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering, or the Institute of Medicine.