The Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability at the California Academy of Sciences is at the forefront of efforts to understand two of the most important topics of our time: the nature and future of life on Earth. Based in San Francisco, the institute is home to more than 60 research scientists and aquarium biologists, as well as more than 28 million scientific specimens from around the world—nearly 40,000 of which are alive and on display in the Academy’s Steinhart Aquarium. The institute also leverages the expertise and efforts of more than 100 international Research and Field Associates and 300 distinguished Fellows. Through expeditions around the globe, captive breeding programs, and investigations in the lab, the institute’s scientists strive to understand the evolution and interconnectedness of life. Through these same efforts, as well as through partnerships, community outreach, and public engagement initiatives, the institute aims to guide critical conservation decisions and address the challenge of sustainability.
Award ceremony to take place on October 8, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO (October 4, 2013) — The California Academy of Sciences is pleased to announce that 10 new members have joined the ranks of the Academy Fellows, a governing group of around 300 distinguished scientists who have made notable contributions to one or more of the natural sciences. Nominated by their colleagues and selected by the Board of Trustees, the Academy Fellows remain members of the Fellowship for life. The new Fellows will be inducted during the Fellowship’s next meeting on October 8, 2013. They will join the ranks of such well-known Academy Fellows as Sylvia Earle, Paul Ehrlich, John Holdren, Peter Raven, and Jill Tarter.
During the meeting, the Fellowship will also present one of its members with the Academy’s highest honor: the Fellows’ Medal. This award is given to especially prominent scientists who have made outstanding contributions to their specific scientific fields. Medalists are nominated each year by the Academy Fellows and confirmed by the Board of Trustees. This year’s honoree is Dr. James T. Carlton of Williams College and Mystic Seaport. In addition, the Fellows will present Distinguished Service Awards to Roberta Borgonovo and Sandra Linder, both former trustees and docents of the Academy, and to Dr. Bob Van Syoc, former senior collection manager at the Academy. Brief biographies for each of the new Fellows and awardees are included below.
New Academy Fellows
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco
Dr. DeRisi is a Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator. He employs an interdisciplinary approach to his work, combining genomics, bioinformatics, biochemistry, and bioengineering to study parasitic and viral infectious diseases in a wide range of organisms. DeRisi was one of the early pioneers of DNA microarray technology and whole genome expression profiling and is nationally recognized for his efforts to make this technology accessible and freely available. Today, he uses this approach to study the activity of the full range of malaria genes and has generated provocative insights in many emerging viral diseases. In 2004, he was chosen for a MacArthur Fellowship for his development of the technology that was used to identify the SARS virus. In addition to being a Searle Scholar and a Packard Fellow, DeRisi has received the Heinz Award in Technology, the Economy and Employment, and was named an Eli Lilly and Company Research Award Laureate. He received a B.A. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Stanford University.
Susan L. Forsburg
Department of Molecular and Computational Biology, University of Southern California
Dr. Forsburg graduated from UC Berkeley with a double degree in English and Molecular Biology. She earned her Ph.D. from MIT, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund at Oxford University. Forsburg started her faculty career at the Salk Institute in La Jolla; after 11 years, she moved to the University of Southern California, where she is now a Professor of Biological Sciences. Her research investigates the mechanisms that maintain genome stability during the cell cycle, using a model fission yeast system. She has received numerous awards, including the WICB-Junior Faculty Recognition award from the American Society for Cell Biology, the Stohlman Scholar award from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the Roche Diagnostics Alice M. Evans Award from the American Society for Microbiology. Forsburg was an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2004 and of the Association of Women in Science in 2007.
Paul L. Koch
Department of Physical and Biological Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz
Dr. Koch is the Dean of Physical & Biological Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz and a professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences. His research focuses on the ecology of vertebrates, which he reconstructs using biogeochemistry and other tools. He studies how ecology influences evolutionary pattern and process in vertebrates, as well as their susceptibility to extinction. He is the author of more than 100 papers and has worked on a wide variety of organisms, including Pleistocene megafauna, early Cenozoic mammals, marine and carnivorous mammals, among others. He has done field work in North and South America, Asia, Africa, and Antarctica. Koch received B.A. degrees in Geological Sciences and Literature from the University of Rochester and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University of Michigan. He had postdoctoral fellowships at the Smithsonian Institution and the Geophysical Laboratory, and was an assistant professor of Geosciences at Princeton University. Koch received the Charles Schuchert Award from the Paleontological Society in 1998 and is a Fellow of both the Paleontological Society and the Geological Society of America.
Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley
Dr. Kremen is an ecologist and conservation biologist whose work focuses on understanding and characterizing the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem services, and utilizing this information to develop conservation and sustainable management plans, considering both protected areas and the working lands matrix around them. Kremen’s current research focuses on exploring the ecological, social and economic benefits, costs and barriers to adoption of diversified farming systems, and on restoring pollination and pest control services in intensively farmed landscapes, using both predictive modeling and field studies. Her work reaches from theory to practice and includes hands-on conservation action, such as the design and establishment of one of Madagascar’s largest national parks using an integrated conservation-development framework, and the creation of conservation plans for a protected area network to maximize protection of endemic biodiversity in Madagascar. In 2007, she was awarded the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for her contributions to ecology, agriculture and biodiversity. She co-directs the Center for Diversified Farming Systems and the Berkeley Food Institute at the University of California.
Research at Google Inc.
Dr. Norvig is a Director of Research at Google Inc. Previously, he was head of Google’s core search algorithms group, and of NASA Ames Computational Sciences Division, making him NASA’s senior computer scientist. He received the NASA Exceptional Achievement Award in 2001. He has taught at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Berkeley, from which he received a Ph.D. in 1986 and the distinguished alumni award in 2006. He was co-teacher of an Artificial Intelligence class that signed up 160,000 students, helping to kick off the current round of massive open online classes. He has more than 50 publications in Computer Science, concentrating on Artificial Intelligence, Natural Language Processing and Software Engineering, including the books Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (the leading textbook in the field), Paradigms of AI Programming: Case Studies in Common Lisp, Verbmobil: A Translation System for Face-to-Face Dialog, and Intelligent Help Systems for UNIX. He is also the author of the Gettysburg Powerpoint Presentation and the world’s longest palindromic sentence. Norvig is an AAAI Fellow, ACM Fellow, and American Academy of Arts & Sciences Member.
Katherine S. Pollard
Gladstone Institutes, University of California, San Francisco
Dr. Pollard is an Associate Investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, and is the founder and faculty supervisor of the Gladstone Bioinformatics Core. She is also an Associate Professor in the Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics and Institute for Human Genetics at the University of California, San Francisco. Pollard’s lab develops statistical and computational methods for the analysis of massive genomic datasets. Her research focuses on genome evolution, particularly identifying DNA sequences that differ significantly between or within species, and the sequences’ relationship to biomedical traits. Many of these sequences are non-coding, such as regulatory signals, structural sites and RNA genes. Pollard earned her master’s degree and Ph.D. in biostatistics from the University of California, Berkeley.
Department of Earth and Planetary Science, University of California, Berkeley
Dr. Richards is a Professor of Earth and Planetary Science at the University of California, Berkeley, and also serves as the Dean of the Division of Mathematical and Physical Sciences and the Executive Dean of the College of Letters and Science. His research is focused on understanding large-scale dynamic processes in the interior of the Earth and the other terrestrial planets, and how those processes affect geological phenomena that are observable at the Earth’s surface and from spacecraft. Richards’ work paved the way for our current understanding of the relationships among the Earth’s gravity field, the history of plate tectonics, thermal convection in the Earth’s mantle, and seismic imaging of the Earth’s interior. He has also made major contributions to the present theory for how large volcanic centers such as Hawaii, Iceland, and the Galapagos are formed above rising plumes of hot material from the Earth’s core-mantle boundary. Richards is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, winner of an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, and the recent recipient of the UC Berkeley Academic Senate’s Leon Henkin Award for distinguished contributions to campus diversity.
Jonathon H. Stillman
Department of Biology, San Francisco State University
Dr. Stillman is an Associate Professor of Biology at the Romberg Tiburon Center, San Francisco State University, and an adjunct faculty in Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. His research is focused on the environmental physiology of marine, estuarine, and freshwater invertebrates and algae. He studies how organisms respond to complex multi-factor changes in their physical environment over immediate to evolutionary timescales. His present research efforts include genome to whole organism investigations of how porcelain crabs, red king crabs, daphnia, coccolithophores, and aquatic insects respond to global change phenomena, including increased climate variability, ocean warming, ocean acidification, changes in the oceanic nitrogen cycle, and changes in estuarine salinity. Stillman earned his B.S. in Ecology from the University of Minnesota and embarked on his Ph.D. in Zoology from Oregon State University, later moving to Hopkins Marine Station at Stanford University. Stillman spent one year as a visiting faculty at Occidental College and two years as an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii before joining the faculty at his present institutions.
Benito C. Tan
University Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley
Dr. Tan is one of the few world authorities today on the taxonomy and systematics of South East Asian and East Asian moss floras. A university professor and researcher in plant biodiversity for many years, he is also a member of the Committee of Plant Nomenclature in Bryophyta of the International Association of Plant Taxonomists, a member of the Committee of Endangered Bryophytes of the International Association of Bryologists, and a member of the IUCN. Tan has had more than 250 technical scientific publications in international and local botanical and bryological journals, including chapters of books, on the taxonomy, molecular systematics, biogeography, and conservation of Asiatic mosses. At present, he has an affiliate research associate appointment at the University Herbarium of the University of California at Berkeley, and also an affiliate herbarium appointment at the Herbarium of the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. He received his Ph.D. in Botany from the University of British Columbia in 1981.
R. Sanders Williams
Gladstone Institutes, University of California, San Francisco
Dr. Williams is President of the Gladstone Institutes, an independent and nonprofit biomedical-research organization dedicated to accelerating the pace of scientific discovery and innovation to prevent, treat and cure cardiovascular, viral and neurological diseases. Prior to assuming the presidency of Gladstone in 2010, Williams directed cardiovascular medicine and research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. At Duke University, he was Dean of the School of Medicine, and subsequently served as Senior Vice Chancellor for Duke University and Senior Advisor for International Strategy. In the latter role, he was founding Dean of Singapore's Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, Alpha Omega Alpha, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and the Association of American Physicians. He is also a Professor of Medicine at UCSF, a Fellow at both the California Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Director for the Laboratory Corporation of America. Williams is a physician-scientist who earned an A.B. from Princeton University and an M.D. from Duke University. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a fellowship in Cardiology at Duke University.
Recipient of the 2013 Fellows’ Medal
James T. Carlton
Professor of Marine Sciences and Biology, Williams College and Mystic Seaport
Dr. Carlton is a Professor of Marine Sciences and Biology at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts and Director of the Williams College - Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program at Mystic Seaport in Mystic, Connecticut. His research focuses on the environmental history of coastal marine ecosystems, including invasions of non-native species and modern-day extinctions in the world's oceans. His research sites include the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, the Hawaiian Islands, Argentina, and South Africa. He is the only scientist to receive the Interagency Recognition Award from the U.S. Federal Government for his national and international work to reduce the impacts of exotic species invasions in the sea. Carlton is currently Lead Principal Investigator on a National Science Foundation-funded study on the marine life being transported across the Pacific Ocean by the marine debris generated by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of 2011. He is founding editor-in-chief of the journal Biological Invasions, a Pew Fellow for Marine Conservation, and a Fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the California Academy of Sciences. In 1995, he was named an "Ocean Hero" by the Smithsonian Institution. He received his undergraduate degree in paleontology from the University of California, Berkeley, his Ph.D. in ecology from the University of California, Davis, and did his postdoctoral work at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Recipients of the 2013 Distinguished Service Award
Former Trustee and Docent, California Academy of Sciences
Borgonovo’s love of the California Academy of Sciences began in 1971, when she first became a docent. Her docent involvement has been extensive and continues to this day. She also served on the Board of Trustees for many years and was an active supporter for the new Academy in Golden Gate Park. Borgonovo is a native of La Grande, Oregon and a graduate of Eastern Oregon State University. In 1959, she came to San Francisco to teach school and met her husband, Roy Borgonovo, soon after. Her four children were guinea pigs for her fledgling docent activities, and her three grandsons have not escaped either. She remains a life-long fan of the Academy.
Former Trustee and Docent, California Academy of Sciences
Linder has been an active volunteer at the Academy for many years. A docent since 1979, she has held a variety of leadership positions, including Docent Chair, Docent Education Chair, and a long-term chair of the Materials Group, which has produced many docent training manuals through the contributions of docents and staff. As an Academy Board member from 1988-2001, Linder served on the Executive Committee, the Science Council, the Development Committee, including the founding Friends and Planned Giving Committees, and as Chair of the Education and Exhibits Committee. After all these years, she’s still convinced the Academy is a place that can change the world.
Bob Van Syoc
Former Senior Collection Manager, California Academy of Sciences
Dr. Van Syoc is a Research Fellow at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and has been an Academy staff member since his days as a San Francisco State University student in 1979. During his academic career, Van Syoc has studied various topics in marine ecology and invertebrate zoology, from San Francisco Bay to the South Pacific. He earned his Ph.D. at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where he used DNA analysis to study genetic relationships and speciation among barnacles at the molecular level. Van Syoc’s current research focuses on symbiotic relationships of barnacles with sponges and corals.
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