Rita R. Colwell (NAS)*, Chair
Rita R. 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 U.S. Life Sciences, Inc., and president and chief executive officer 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. Dr. Colwell served as the eleventh director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), 1998-2004. In her capacity as director, she served as co-chair of the Committee on Science of the National Science and Technology Council. Dr. 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. Dr. 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 (AAAS), 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). Dr. 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 Agogino (NAE)*
Alice 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, Energy Resources Group and Studies in Engineering, Science and Mathematics Education. 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. Dr. Agogino 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 B.S. in mechanical engineering from the University of New Mexico (1975), an M.S. in mechanical engineering (1978) from the UCB, and Ph.D. from the Department of Engineering-Economic Systems at Stanford University (1984). Dr. Agogino is a fellow of the Association of Women in Science and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. She was elected to National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 1997 and awarded the NSF Director’s Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars in 2004. She formally served as a member of the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy Committee on Women in Academic Science and Engineering. She is currently a council member of NAE.
Joan W. Bennett (NAS)*
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 (NAS). Dr. 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. Dr. 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)*
Jeremy M. Berg became director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) in November 2003. He oversaw a $2 billion budget that funds basic research in the areas of cell biology, biophysics, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, physiology, biological chemistry, bioinformatics and computational biology. Prior to his appointment as NIGMS director, Dr. Berg directed the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, where he also served as professor and director of the department of biophysics and biophysical chemistry. In addition, he directed the Markey Center for Macromolecular Structure and Function and co-directed the W.M. Keck Center for the Rational Design of Biologically Active Molecules at the university. Dr. Berg received B.S. and M.S. degrees in chemistry from Stanford University in 1980 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University in 1985.
Vivian W. Pinn (IOM)*
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, an appointment she has held since 1991. She was also the NIH associate director for Research on Women’s Health. Dr. Pinn came to NIH from Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., 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. One of her major efforts has been to raise the perception of the scientific community about the importance of sex and gender factors in basic science, clinical research, health care and public policy. She also is currently co-chair, along with the Director of NIH, of The NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers. Dr. Pinn earned her B.A. from Wellesley College and received her M.D. from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1967, where she was the only woman and minority in her class. She returned to Massachusetts to complete her postgraduate training as a Research Fellow in pathology at Massachusetts General Hospital, during which time she also served as Teaching Fellow at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Pinn then joined the faculty of Tufts University School of Medicine and Tufts-New England Medical Center Hospital in 1970. In 1982, when she moved to Howard University, she became the third woman to chair an academic department of pathology in the United States. She is a member of many professional and scientific organizations, in which she held many positions of leadership. She also served as the 88th president (and second woman president) of the National Medical Association from 1989 to 1990. Dr. Pinn has received numerous honors, awards, and recognitions and has been granted 10 honorary degrees of laws and science since 1992. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was elected to Institute of Medicine in 1995.
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 more than 20 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.
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, Dr. Villa-Komaroff held positions at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (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 has been vice president for research at Northwestern University in Illinois and the vice president for research and chief operating officer of Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Masschussetts. Dr. Villa-Komaroff has served on several National Research Council committees. She is a current member of 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. She is a founding member of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science and has served as both a board member and vice president of the organization. Dr. Villa-Komaroff received her A.B. from Goucher College and her Ph.D. from MIT.
Susan Wessler (NAS)*
Susan Wessler is distinguished professor of genetics in the Department of Botany & Plant Sciences at the University of California, Riverside. Born in New York City, Dr. Wessler earned her bachelor’s degree in biology with honors from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1974. She received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Cornell University in 1980, and was a postdoctoral fellow of the American Cancer Society at the Carnegie Institution from 1980-1982. From 1983-2010, Wessler was in the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Georgia at Athens, where she was assistant, associate, full professor and finally regents professor. Dr. Wessler was elected to membership in the NAS in 1998 and was elected in 2004 to the Council of the National Academies. She was elected as NAS Home Secretary in 2011. She is a fellow of AAAS and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is the recipient of Distinguished Scientist Award (2007) from the Southeastern Universities Research Association, the Stephen Hales Prize (2010) from the American Association of Plant Biology and the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Excellence in Science Award (2012). Her scientific interest focuses on the subject of plant transposable elements and the evolution of plant genomes.
*Denotes members of the National Academy of Science (NAS), National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and Institute of Medicine (IOM).