Speakers at recent and upcoming New Horizons meetings
director, Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering; Teresa and H. John Heinz III professor in the practice of chemistry for the environment, Yale University
Paul Anastas trained as a synthetic organic chemist, earning his PhD at Brandeis. Focusing on sustainability science and moving among academia, industry and government, he established the field of green chemistry, articulating its principles in books that include Benign by Design and Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice (John Warner, co-author). He served in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy 1999-2004 and as the Assistant Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development and Science Advisor to the EPA 2009-12 before returning to Yale.
professor and Chief, Division of Biostatistics and Health Services Research, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Arlene Ash is a biostatistician at Boston University. Her studies have ranged across such topics as health care delivery, costs, and outcomes; patient safety; and racial and gender differences in disease outcomes. She is a Fellow of the American Statistical Association and a past chair of ASA's Subcommittee on Electoral Integrity. She has testified on statistical issues in elections before the state legislature of Massachusetts and in a court case in Florida in 2000.
senior research scientist, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
professor of psychology/neuroscience, Harvard University
associate research professor of microbiology and immunology, School of Medicine; professor of epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
After Ralph Baric attended N.C. State University on a swimming scholarship, he stuck around to complete a PhD in microbiology in 1983, the year the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) was isolated. He is known for his research on the replication and pathogenesis of coronaviruses, which include SARS, and more recently of noroviruses such as the Norwalk virus. His work has crossed the boundaries of microbiology, virology, immunology and epidemiology, looking especially at the population genetics of viruses to find the molecular building blocks for more effective vaccines.
performing magician and graduate student in cognitive psychology, Arizona State University
Anthony Barnhart, a magician since the age of 7, is known for his unique blend of theater, psychology and magic. He has won four national competitions and placed third among magicians from around the world in a 1999 competition. At Arizona State University, he studies the processes involved in handwritten word recognition in humans and the psychological foundations of stage magic.
professor of physics and astronomy, San Jose State University
Natalie Batalha thought she wanted to follow her parents into a business career until she got to college and encountered freshman physics. “What impressed me was how ordered the universe is,” she says. “When you internalize that fact, you begin to fully realize the beauty of it.” As part of her work on the Kepler mission, she was responsible for the selection of the more than 150,000 planets that Kepler monitors for evidence of planets.
professor of clinical pharmacy and health policy studies, University of California, San Francisco
professor of management, Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University
Belk Distinguished Professor of biology; chief scientific officer, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, SoyMeds Inc.
Ken Bost grew up near Concord, NC, and received his undergraduate degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1979. He left the state to pursue a doctoral degree in immunology from Ole Miss Medical School. After rising through the academic ranks at UTMB-Galveston, then UAB Medical Center, and finally Tulane Medical Center, where he was a professor of microbiology and immunology, he returned to N.C. in 1998 as the Belk Distinguished Professor of Biology at UNC-Charlotte. In 2005 Ken Bost and Kenneth Piller co-founded SoyMeds, Inc. as a UNC-Charlotte startup company. This small business uses transgenic soybean seeds as a platform technology for expressing recombinant proteins that have pharmaceutical and diagnostic applications.
professor of genomics, Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University
Trained at the University of Liverpool, Matthew Breen launched a career in molecular cytogenetics in the UK and Australia, where he helped develop techniques to analyze the genomes of horses and humans. After extending his comparative genomic studies to dogs, he relocated his lab to NCSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine as part of the school’s genomics initiative in 2002. He now co-directs the clinical studies core within the NCSU Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research and serves on the board of the Canine Comparative Oncology and Genomics Consortium. He spends much of his time working with dog breeders who, he reports, are broadly committed to reducing the burden of genetic disease in purebred dogs by careful controlled breeding.
seismologist, U.S. Geological Survey
professor of psychology, University of Texas at Austin
David M. Buss is one of the founders of the field of evolutionary psychology. He is the author of several books, including The Evolution of Desire and The Dangerous Passion. His most recent book is Why Women Have Sex (co-written with Cindy Meston). In his research, Buss studies sexual attraction, mate guarding, sexual deception, sexual competition, relationship breakups and the effects of ovulation on women’s sexuality.
senior research associate, Physics Department, California Institute of Technology
Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist whose interests include dark matter, dark energy, the arrow of time, inflation, extra dimensions, gravity and, it seems, just about everything. Much of what he studies is being re-examined in the face of a new discoveries and a flood of data. “We live in a preposterous universe,” he says, “and it’s our job to make sense of it.”
President, Chair, National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council
Ralph J. Cicerone's, Ph.D., studies of atmospheric energy dynamics, climate change, and ozone depletion have long put him at the intersection of science and government policy. He has directed atmospheric chemistry studies at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, is a former president of the American Geophysical Union, and was chancellor of the University of California, Irvine, from 1998 to 2005.
assistant professor, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas
Clegg received her Ph.D. in nutrition from the University of Georgia. Before coming to Dallas, she was in the psychiatry department at the University of Cincinnati.
assistant professor of anthropology, University of Michigan
Jason De León is an Army brat who grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and in Long Beach, CA. His research interests focus on political economy, undocumented migration, deportation, violence, material culture and archaeology of the contemporary past. Since 2008 he has directed the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP), a long-term analysis of clandestine border crossing. In addition to his academic research, Jason has been a touring musician since the 1990s. He has released several independent records and toured the U.S. and Mexico multiple times.
assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral science and bioengineering, Stanford University
professor of biochemistry; investigator, University of California, San Francisco; Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Chancellor's Eminent Professor of chemistry; William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of chemical engineering, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University
Joe DeSimone is a prolific and creative inventor, entrepreneur and scientific collaborator. Among his inventions are: an environmentally friendly manufacturing process that relies on supercritical carbon dioxide for the creation of fluoropolymers and high-performance plastics; a bioabsorbable, drug-eluting stent; and a roll-to-roll particle-fabrication technology that borrows photolithographic techniques from semiconductor manufacturing to deliver high-performance, cost-effective vaccines and medicines. The new fabrication technology is the foundation of Liquidia Technologies, which DeSimone launched in 2004. Liquidia now employs roughly 50 people in Research Triangle Park. Trained in chemistry, DeSimone is a member of the National Academies of Engineering and Sciences.
professor of earth sciences, Stanford University
research assistant professor, Northern Arizona University
Jeffrey Foster is a wildlife biologist specializing in infectious diseases. His studies of bats were preceded by work on work on brucellosis (it’s not bison that are infecting cattle; it’s elk) and on avian malaria in Hawaiian honeycreepers.
George E. Uhlenbeck Professor of physics; associate director, Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics, University of Michigan
Katherine Freese earned her physics degrees from Princeton (where, as far as she knows, she was the second woman to major in physics), Columbia and Chicago, then did postdocs at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics and the University of California, Berkeley. She has held faculty positions at MIT and Michigan, and been a visiting faculty member at the Max Planck Institute für Physik, Columbia, UC Berkeley and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. She works on a wide range of topics in theoretical cosmology and astroparticle physics. She has been working to identify the dark matter and dark energy that permeate the universe as well as to build a successful model for the early universe immediately after the Big Bang. She has shown that most of the mass in galaxies does not consist of ordinary stellar material, and has proposed ways to look for alternatives such as supersymmetric particles. Recently she has proposed that “dark stars” were the first stars to form in the Universe.
senior research scientist and director, Interactive Technology Center, Georgia Institute of Technology
Maribeth Gandy is a computer scientist who works in the field of human-computer interaction, where she develops novel and scientifically validated games for purposes such as training, rehabilitation and cognitive training. She is currently collaborating with Anne McLaughlin and colleagues at NC State on an NSF-funded project to develop cognitive games for older adults. The goal is to both isolate what components are necessary in an activity for it to have general cognitive benefits and to craft a custom game that is accessible and compelling for an older player. For seven years she worked in the fields of disability and accessibility as a project director in the Wireless RERC (through the Shepard Center in Atlanta and Georgia Tech) and generated guidelines for the universal design and user-centered design process with disabled individuals. In her consulting work she has built commercial games, designed a home medical device for older adults, enhanced live rock concerts, and worked with startup companies to develop augmented reality business models and products.
professor of biochemistry and internal medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Harold “Skip” Garner earned his Ph.D. in plasma physics and has conducted research on fusion, artificial intelligence, high-temperature superconductors and stealth technologies. His lab now focuses on computational biology, instrumentation, and genetics and genomics.
Gustave and Louise Pfeiffer Professor of pharmacology and toxicology, University of Texas at Austin
Andrea Gore serves on the faculty of the Division of Pharmacology & Toxicology at the University of Texas College of Pharmacy. She is one of a small group of researchers studying the links between the brain and reproduction. The work suggests that new therapies for infertility might depend on a better understanding of this link. (Among her collaborators is Michael Skinner of Washington State University, who spoke at New Horizons at Carnegie Mellon in 2005.)
associate professor of psychology, University of Texas at Austin
Sam Gosling has made important contributions to the study of personality in animals (not so long ago, most scientists thought they didn’t have any), and to manifestations of human personality in our environments. He is the author of Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About You (2008).
University Distinguished Professor of entomology and genetics, North Carolina State University
Fred Gould began studying how insects adapt to plant defenses and insecticides after completing his PhD at SUNY Stony Brook in 1977. This work took him to North Carolina, where he began to focus on how transgenic crops can be deployed to suppress the evolution of pest resistance. He now focuses on how insects and other pests might be engineered to protect endangered species, reduce crop losses, restore island ecosystems and suppress diseases such as malaria. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2011 and now leads an effort to cross-train graduate students in genomics, ecology, molecular biology, ethics and policy to better inform the use of genetically modified organisms in pest management.
NIEHS program director, Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Centers, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Kimberly Gray received her B.S. degree in behavioral neuroscience and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh, where as a graduate student she worked on a project examining the long-term effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol, marijuana and tobacco. During a postdoctoral fellowship in the NIEHS Epidemiology Branch, she examined the long-term effects of polychlorinated biphenyl exposure during pregnancy and childhood development. In August 2001 she returned to NIEHS, where she now is now the NIEHS director for a nationwide collaborating network of “Children’s Centers”—the NIEHS and EPA Centers for Children’s Environmental Health & Disease Prevention Research.
graduate student in computation and neural systems, California Institute of Technology
As an undergraduate at the University of Alabama, Virgil Griffith was sued for demonstrating the security flaws in multi-use campus ID cards. He moved to Indiana University, where he was hired to teach computer security before being admitted as an undergraduate. He developed Wikiscanner, a tool for identifying organizations that have edited Wikipedia entries, and has worked on Polyworld, a computer-generated example of artificial evolution. He has been a guest at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University and is a regular visitor to the Santa Fe Institute.
associate professor, earth and atmospheric sciences, Purdue University
Kevin Gurney is an expert on the mapping of carbon emissions and the links between carbon emissions, climate and the biosphere. He was a contributing author to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology, Yale University
Jo Handelsman's work on organisms in the soil and in the guts of humans and even insects has led to findings that are proving important in human disease and in pest control. It’s a case, she says, of basic research once again surprising us with unexpected and important practical implications.
assistant professor of anthropology, University of Wisconsin, Madison
John Hawks's studies include trying to make sense of genetic fragments from different populations, and anthropological bone and tooth specimens, to show how humans have evolved during the past 30,000 years. And he attempts to integrate that knowledge with data from archeology and the historical record.
professor of biology, University of Texas at Austin
Hans Hofmann is a biologist and a fellow at UT’s Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology. He was one of the first researchers to use cichlid fish to study how the social environment regulates brain and behavior. And he is a pioneer in the use of genomics and systems biology to analyze and understand these processes. He received his PhD in biology from the University of Leipzig.
president, Institute for Systems Biology
Leroy Hood, MD, PhD, is a biologist who heads the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle. He pioneered the development of the DNA and protein sequencers and synthesizers that have revolutionized research in genomics. He co-founded the institute in 2000 to pursue systems approaches to biology and medicine. He has participated in the founding of more than a dozen biotechnology companies.
staff scientist, Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network
Andy Howell leads the supernova group at Las Cumbres. He’s also an adjunct professor of physics at UC Santa Barbara and was a host of the third season of the National Geographic Channel series Known Universe. He’s been a member of three teams that have found and followed thousands of explosive and transient events in the universe, providing our best measurement of the mysterious dark energy. Earlier he worked with the Supernova Cosmology Project, led by 2011 Nobelist Saul Perlmutter. Howell also does popular science writing and reviews movies under the name Copernicus at Ain't It Cool News. He's been known to get into boxing matches with NASA conspiracy theorists.
Virginia M. Ullman Chair in human origins; professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change; founding director, Institute of Human Origins, Arizona State University
As a teenager, Don Johanson read Thomas Henry Huxley’s book Man’s Place in Nature and became mesmerized by the notion that modern humans and African apes descended from an ancient common ancestor that lived in Africa. Over the course of a remarkable career in paleoanthropology, he has been responsible for a number of groundbreaking discoveries, most notably the Lucy skeleton, distinguished by an amalgam of ape and human features that makes her an ideal transitional fossil between ape and human. Since completing his PhD at the University of Chicago in 1974, Johanson has led field explorations in eastern Africa and the Middle East. He has become the leading communicator of the science of human origins through public lectures, hosting and narrating the Emmy-nominated NOVA series In Search of Human Origins, and co-authoring nine books. Johanson founded the Institute of Human Origins, a human-evolution think tank now at Arizona State University.
professor of physics, University of Miami
Neil Johnson heads a new interdisciplinary research group on complexity dealing with such seemingly unrelated phenomena as quantum entanglement in nanostructures and the evolution of human disease.
Daniel J. Weintraub Professor of psychology and neuroscience; co-director of the Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Laboratory, University of Michigan
John Jonides has focused his research career on understanding working memory and higher mental functioning. That has included work to track the storage of information in working memory, and to determine how that information can be manipulated. When the weather in Michigan allows it, he jogs and plays golf and tennis.
Kenneth R. Walker associate professor of earth and planetary sciences, University of Tennesee, Knoxville
Linda Kah has been pursuing her love of science since kindergarten, when she announced her intention to become a geologist. She received concurrent BS and MS degrees from MIT in 1990, followed by a PhD from Harvard in 1997. In her research, Kah combines her knowledge of geology, isotope geochemistry and biology to decipher how ecosystems arise on planets, and how biological processes fundamentally interact with, and even change, geological systems. Her research has taken her to some of the most remote places on Earth, including the Canadian Arctic, Saharan West Africa, and the high Andes of Argentina; and continues to take her to even more remote localities, as she begins exploration of Gale Crater on the surface of Mars with NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission. “I was brought into the mission seven years ago for the express reason that I knew almost nothing about Mars,” she recalls.
Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law, Yale Law School
Dan M. Kahan has studied such issues as gun control, the risks of nanotechnology, gay parenting, “acquaintance rape,” criminal law and evidence, and white males. He served as a law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court 1990-1991.
professor of anthropology, University of Texas at Austin
John Kappelman grew up on a family farm in southwestern Idaho. He holds a joint PhD in anthropology and earth and planetary sciences from Harvard and a BS in geology and geophysics from Yale. The primary focus of his research is hominoid evolution and human origins and evolution, with particular emphasis in paleoecology and functional morphology, and stratigraphy and paleomagnetism. He has carried out field work in many parts of African and Asian and currently conducts field projects in Ethiopia and Turkey. He is also active in CT imaging of fossils and in 2008 headed the team that completed the first high-resolution imaging of the fossil Lucy.
E. Raymond and Ruth Cowden Endowed Chair in Microbiology, Regents Professor of biology and professor and director of the Pathogen Genomics Division, Northern Arizona University; The Translational Genomics Research Institute
Paul Keim has spent much of his career in close proximity to anthrax spores, and the rest of it meddling with E. coli, Salmonella and plague. He was heavily involved in the investigation of the 2001 anthrax letters, and he is a leader in the use of genomic analysis to identify and analyze bacterial pathogens.
director of mobile imaging care and clinical cognitive neuroscience; The Mind Research Network associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, University of New Mexico
professor of developmental biology, Stanford University; Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Harris Professor of child psychiatry and psychology, Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine
The Child Study Center's autism program, which Ami Klin directs, draws on the expertise of researchers in clinical psychology, neuroimaging, child psychiatry, social work and genetics.
associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder
Rob Knight got his PhD 10 years ago in ecology and evolutionary biology and quickly became involved in the study of bacterial communities on and in the human body. In addition to pursuing his basic research, he is working with Jeffrey I. Gordon at Washington University to set up a translational medicine pipeline in Malawi and Bangladesh—with the help of the Gates Foundation—to study microbiomes related to such diseases of malnutrition as kwashiorkor and marasmus. The goal is to treat these illnesses by restoring altered microbial communities.
associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, Stanford University
Harold H. Hines Jr. Professor of medicine and public health, Yale School of Medicine
Harlan M. Krumholz, MD, MSc, is a distinguished expert on drug testing and clinical trials. He is an editor at several journals and an architect of the national-outcomes measures used by the government.
Fuchsberg-Levine Family associate professor of physics, Duke University
Mark Kruse is an associate professor specializing in experimental high-energy physics at Duke University, where he holds the Fuchsberg-Levine Family Chair for excellence in teaching and research. Kruse led the CDF Higgs discovery group at Fermilab from January 2007 to January 2009 and continues to play an active role in searches for the Higgs boson. In addition, he has developed a global analysis to search for new physics using events containing a high-energy electron and muon. Kruse is also interested in silicon detector design for high-energy particle physics experiments and is part of a group developing the next generation of silicon detectors for the ATLAS experiment at the LHC.
professor of human genetics, University of Chicago; Howard Hughes Medical Institute
professor of obstetrics and gynecology; professor of pathology, Duke University School of Medicine
Phyllis Leppert started out as a nurse-midwife in the 1960s, then took a turn toward medical school, earning an MD in 1973 and then a biology PhD in 1986. She developed a research interest in the biology of the uterine cervix, and specifically its elastin fiber network. After a stint as chief of the Reproductive Services Branch of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, she joined Duke University’s obstetrics and gynecology faculty in 2006. There she focuses on issues in reproductive health and primary and preventive reproductive medicine for women. She has written for women’s magazines and today focuses on uterine fibroids, a health scourge that affects 7 of 10 U.S. women of childbearing age.
professor of cell biology; director of the Yale Stem Cell Center, Yale School of Medicine
Haifan Lin's research deals with the mechanisms governing the behavior of stem cells.
associate professor of biomedical engineering and materials science and engineering; director, Cell Mechanics Laboratory, North Carolina State University; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
As a Stanford mechanical engineering graduate student, Elizabeth Loboa worked with a craniofacial surgeon on challenges such as repairing cleft palates and separating conjoined twins. She continues to be motivated by the chance to help repair severely wounded bodies. After completing her PhD in mechanical engineering in 2002 and doing a postdoc, she headed to North Carolina, where the breadth of her understanding of mechanics, modeling, materials and regenerative biology has landed Loboa adjunct appointments in physiology, textiles and orthopedics. “Engineers do things differently from biologists,” she says. “If it’s not solving the problem, then as an an engineer, it’s not important to me. I want to do the most clinically relevant thing. I want to solve the big problems.”
Kappe professor of environmental engineering, Penn State University
Environmental biotechnologist Bruce Logan's research focuses on novel technologies that produce energy from microbial processes and on developing a global water infrastructure for both industrialized and developing countries that is sustainable in energy terms. The author or co-author of over 300 refereed publications and several books, he collaborates around the world and has been a visiting researcher in England, Saudi Arabia and China. He received his PhD in 1986 from UC Berkeley and served on the University of Arizona faculty prior to joining the faculty at Penn State in 1997. He also established and directs the Penn State Hydrogen Energy Center.
Chair, Department of Marine Sciences, University of Southern Mississippi
Steven Lohrenz has studied carbon dioxide distribution in coastal waters, methods for detecting algal blooms and other biogeochemical properties of coastal waters.
associate professor and chief, Division of Pain Management, Stanford University School of Medicine
director, Laboratory of Behavioral Neurophysiology, Barrow Neurological Institute
Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik, now husband and wife, were both postdoctoral fellows in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate David Hubel at Harvard, where they trained as visual neuroscientists. They are the founders of the exciting new discipline of NeuroMagic—and also members of the Magic Castle, Magic Circle, International Brotherhood of Magicians, and the Society of American Magicians. Macknik studies the neurobiology of perception, cognition and neural diseases, with a special interest in the neural underpinnings of visual awareness, with an aim toward understanding the minimal set of physical conditions necessary to make an object visible—the beginning of visual perception.
professor of meteorology and director of the Earth System Science Center, Penn State University
Michael Mann received his PhD at Yale University and is a co-founder of the website RealClimate.org. He shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize given to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
associate professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University
Jane Marks is an expert on freshwater ecosystems and how they respond to environmental disruptions.
director, Laboratory of Visual Neuroscience, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix, AZ
Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik, now husband and wife, were both postdoctoral fellows in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate David Hubel at Harvard, where they trained as visual neuroscientists. They are the founders of the exciting new discipline of NeuroMagic—and also members of the Magic Castle, Magic Circle, International Brotherhood of Magicians, and the Society of American Magicians. Martinez-Conde is examining the neural bases of visual experience. How, she asks, does the electrical activity of a neuron convey the color or brightness of an object?
professor of psychiatry and neurology, Emory University School of Medicine
Helen S. Mayberg used neuroimaging to study mood regulation and neural networks for 20 years, leading to her pioneering development of deep brain stimulation as a treatment for severe depression.
assistant professor of psychology, North Carolina State University
Anne McLaughlin received her psychology PhD in 2007 from Georgia Tech. She has studied motivation in a number of contexts, including hand-washing in healthcare settings, before focusing on individual differences in cognition in adults over the age of 65 and in particular on maintaining mental abilities at older ages via cognitive exercise. She collaborates with Jason Allaire, a lifespan developmental psychologist at NCSU, and Maribeth Gandy, a computer scientist at Georgia Tech. She maintains the Human Factors Blog, http://humanfactorsblog.org/.
professor of clinical pathology, University of Texas at Austin
Cindy Meston, PhD, is a professor of clinical pathology at the University of Texas at Austin, and co-author, with David Buss, of Why Women Have Sex. Meston’s research is concerned primarily with understanding female sexual arousal and female sexual desire, with an eye toward developing treatments for sexually dysfunctional women. She is a past president of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health.
Arey distinguished professor of chemistry; director, UNC Energy Frontier Research Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Tom Meyer’s pioneering work on converting sunlight to chemical energy laid much of the groundwork for the fast-moving field now called artificial photosynthesis--the search for technologies that capture and store solar energy. A National Academy member who is one of most highly cited and honored chemists in the world, Meyer returned to the University of North Carolina faculty in 2005 after five years as Associate Director of Los Alamos National Laboratory and now focuses on the renewed search for solar fuels.
Knut Schmidt Nielsen professor of psychology and neuroscience, Duke University
“People are curious about how lives unfold,” says Terrie Moffitt, describing the public interest that has created a worldwide audience for her research. Moffitt studies how genetic and environmental risks work together to shape the developmental course of abnormal human behaviors and psychiatric disorders. She is associate director of the Dunedin Longitudinal Study, which follows 1,000 people born in 1972-73 in a New Zealand town, and also directs the Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study, which follows 1,100 British families with twins born in 1994-95. Moffitt is an internationally renowned clinical psychologist who completed her hospital training in 1984 at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. Topping her long publication list is a 1972 feature film about stock car racing legend Richard Petty, where young Temi Moffitt had a small part. Moffitt and her collaborator and husband Avshalom Caspi joined the Duke faculty in 2007 and also hold faculty positions at the Institute of Psychiatry in England.
professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, Yale School of Medicine
Gil Mor conducts research on cancer progenitor cells, and also studies the interactions between the immune system and reproductive organs.
Kellogg Endowed Chair in Borderlands Food and Water Security, University of Arizona
Gary Paul Nabhan is the author of more than 20 books and co-founder of Native Seeds/SEARCH, which collects and saves seeds. He counts Thoreau among his influences.
professor of communication and computer science, Stanford University
professor of neurobiology, biomedical engineering, psychology and neuroscience; co-director, Center for Neuroengineering, Duke University
Miguel Nicolelis is a neurophysiologist and physician best known for his work using brain-machine interfaces and “neuroprosthetics” to restore motor function to paraplegics, amputees and others who have lost function to disease or injury. In addition to this work, which has been widely honored and reported in US and international media, his research aims to develop an integrative approach to neurological and psychiatric disorders. He remembers that he was led to science by long childhood afternoons of backyard exploration with his grandmother in his native Brazil, where “I discovered the joy of probing the unknown on voyages that only our imagination can plan and track.” Author of the book Beyond Boundaries, Nicolelis holds both an MD and a PhD from the University of Sao Paulo and is co-founder and scientific director of the Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute for Neuroscience of Natal.
professor of geology, Northern Arizona University
Michael Ort is a volcanologist with a particular interest in interactions between humans and volcanoes.
professor of physics; senior scientist, University of California, Berkeley; Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
adjunct research associate professor of biology, president and co-founder, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, SoyMeds Inc.
Kenneth Piller received his PhD in plant molecular biology from the University of Illinois-Chicago and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in parasitology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Before relocating to Charlotte, NC, in 2001, he worked at Monsanto for four years, serving as team leader for projects in the biotech pipeline. After joining the Department of Biology at UNC-Charlotte as a Research Associate Professor, Piller co-founded SoyMeds, Inc. with Ken Bost. The focus of Piller’s research is the development of soybean as a platform for the production of therapeutic proteins that can be used to diagnose, prevent, treat, and potentially cure a variety of diseases.
Harvard College professor and Johnstone Family professor of psychology, Harvard University
Steven Pinker has won numerous prizes for research and teaching and for his eight books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works and The Blank Slate. He is currently chair of the Usage Panel of the American Heritage Dictionary and writes frequently for The New York Times, Time, The New Republic and other publications. His is married to the novelist Rebecca Goldstein, author of 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction.
director, The Translational Genomics Research Institute and Center for Food Microbiology and Environmental Health, Flagstaff, AZ
Lance Price complements his work on resistant microbes with studies of human microbiomes—the microbial communities that live on and in the body.
professor of medicine and epidemiology, University of Washington
In addition to work on drug safety and genetic causis of illness, Psaty, who holds an MD and PhD, has published extensively on conflict of interest in medicine and the design and conduct of clinical trials.
associate professor of biology, University of Montana
In addition to his work on aging, Frank Rosenzweig is studying pathogens commonly found in the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis. He also studies directed evolution in yeast, looking particularly at genetic changes related to adaptation and selection.
economist, Microsoft Research
David Rothschild is a founding member of Microsoft Research's new New York City lab, having joined after a postdoc stint as an economist at Yahoo! Research. He has written extensively, in both the academic and popular press, on polling, prediction markets, and predictions of upcoming events; most of his popular work has focused on predicting elections and an economist take on public policy. Various projects, including Yahoo!’s The Signal, act as online laboratories dedicated to prediction, interest and sentiment models, polling and prediction games. David jumped into politics while working on degrees in civil engineering and history at Brown, spending a summer interning at the White House. He earned his PhD in applied economics at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, studying under Justin Wolfers, who gave a briefing on prediction markets at New Horizons in Science in 2006. Rothschild is also a fellow of the Applied Statistics Center at Columbia.
associate professor of psychology, Yale University
Laurie Santos's research concerns whether primates have precursors to a theory of mind, how they reason, and whether primates and humans share decision-making biases.
professor of biology and neurology and neurological science, Stanford University
Robert Sapolsky is the John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn Professor at Stanford University, holding joint appointments in several departments, including Biological Sciences, Neurology & Neurological Sciences, and Neurosurgery. A neuroendocrinologist, he has focused his research on issues of stress and neuronal degeneration, as well as on the possibilities of gene therapy strategies for protecting susceptible neurons from disease. Currently he is working on gene transfer techniques to strengthen neurons against the disabling effects of glucocorticoids. Sapolsky also spends time annually in Kenya studying a population of wild baboons in order to identify the sources of stress in their environment, and the relationship between personality and patterns of stress-related disease in these animals. More specifically, Sapolsky studies the cortisol levels between the Alpha male and female and the subordinates to determine stress level. He is the author of Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers: An Updated Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases and Coping (1994), which explores the effects of prolonged stress and its contribution to damaging physical and mental afflictions. His other books include The Trouble with Testosterone and Other Essays on the Biology of the Human Predicament (1997), Junk Food Monkeys (1997), A Primate’s Memoir (2002) and Monkeyluv and Other Essays on Our Lives as Animals (2005).
professor of marketing, Stanford University
research fellow, Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology, University of Texas at Austin
Zack Booth Simpson is an artist, scientist, and entrepreneur. A high-school dropout at 17, he became a top video-game designer and at 23 was named director of technology at the video-game company Origin/Electronic Arts. He later started making interactive art, and his artwork is now in permanent installations in more than 40 museums around the world. In 2003 he began working with the Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology at the University of Texas at Austin, where he works on projects ranging from chemical kinetics to synthetic biology. His entrepreneurial efforts include two art-based companies and a web-based bio-informatics company.
Olajos-Goslow professor of environmental science and policy, Northern Arizona University
Tomas Sisk applies scientific findings to immediate problems in land use and wildlife management.
assistant professor of chemistry, Yale University
David A. Spiegel is using new kinds of chemical synthesis to develop molecules that could help illuminate the mechanisms that underlie human diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and diabetes, in addition to his work with antibody recruiters.
Donald J. Cohen Associate Professor of Child Psychiatry and associate professor of genetics at Yale School of Medicine, and co-director of the Yale Neurogenetics Program, Yale School of Medicine
Matthew State's research has focused on the use of the latest and fastest technology to analyze the genetics of Tourette syndrome, autism and other neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood.
assistant professor of chemistry, North Carolina Central University
Darlene Taylor jumped off the pre-med track as a student when she discovered her gift for chemistry. She earned a PhD in polymer physical chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and stayed at UNC for postdoctoral work on the design and characterization of polymer materials for novel applications, collaborating with fellow New Horizons speakers Joe DeSimone and Tom Meyer. In 2005 she joined the faculty at North Carolina Central. Her work focusing on structure-property relationships in oligomers and polymers has brought her back to medicine, where some of her innovations in chemistry hold potential as smart materials for drug delivery.
professor of psychology and director, Laboratory of the Study of Anxiety Disorders, University of Texas at Austin
Michael Telch’s research focuses on the nature and treatment of anxiety disorders. He has published more than 100 research articles and book chapters on anxiety and its disorders. And he has served as a scientific advisor to the National Institute of Mental Health’s Anxiety Disorders Education Program.
director, Office of Health Assessment and Translation, National Toxicology Program, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Kristina Thayer’s office conducts evaluations of environmental chemicals and mixtures to determine whether they cause adverse health effects—and provides opinions on whether these substances are of concern, given what’s known about humans’ exposure to them. Before joining NIEHS, Thayer was a senior scientist at the World Wildlife Fund and then at the Environmental Working Group.
director, Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, University of Chicago
Michael S. Turner is a cosmologist who has been a pioneer in applying the physics of elementary particles to studies of the origin and evolution of the universe. His work has focused on inflationary cosmology, the origin of elements in the Big Bang, dark matter and dark energy—a term he coined to described the mysterious force that appears to be causing an acceleration in the universe’s rate of expansion.
professor of anthropology, Northern Arizona University
Miguel Vasquez is married to a Mayan woman from Guatemala who had to leave Guatemala because her political activism made it too difficult for her to stay. “For a long time, I’ve had a global perspective on things,” he says. He is a distant relative of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, a conquistador who led the major expedition of conquest in the Southwest.
associate professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology, University of Texas at Austin; Howard Hughes Medical Institute
John Wallingford has identified some of the “polarity” genes responsible for embryo formation and is now trying to figure out how cells respond to cues from those genes. He takes his trainees out for coffee every day at 3 and encourages the playing of music in the lab. (Recent playlists have included Alejandro Escovedo, Neko Case and the Rolling Stones.)
professor of psychology, Northern Arizona University
Heidi Wayment is a social psychologist interested in self and identity, and how individuals react to threat and loss. Before receiving her PhD in social psychology at UCLA in 1992, she played professional basketball for several top European teams, was on the U.S. and German national teams and played in the first professional women’s league in the U.S.—for the WBL New Orleans’ Pride. She is the editor, along with Jack S. Bauer, of Transcending Self-Interest: Psychological Explorations of the Quiet Ego.
assistant professor of mechanical engineering, associate director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, and co-director of the Clean Energy Incubator, University of Texas at Austin
Michael Webber has published on a wide variety of topics related to energy technology and policy. He is the author of Changing The Way America Thinks About Energy (2009).
professor of management science, Stanford University
Regental professor of physics and director, theory research group, University of Texas at Austin
Steven Weinberg holds the Josey Regental Chair in Science at the University of Texas, where he is a member of the physics and astronomy departments. He is the author of more than 300 articles on elementary particle physics, and his research has been honored with many awards, including in 1979 the Nobel Prize in Physics and in 1991 the National Medal of Science. His books include, for popular readers, The First Three Minutes (1977); Dreams of a Final Theory—The Search for the Fundamental Laws of Nature (1993) and Facing Up: Science and its Cultural Adversaries (2001). His most recent professional book is Cosmology (2008).
associate professor of epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Epidemiologist Steve Wing conducts research on occupational and environmental health. His recent work has focused on environmental justice, the health effects of ionizing radiation, community impacts of industrial swine production and the built environment. He has collaborated on health and exposure studies with communities and workers affected by the nuclear industry, industrial animal production, and other environmental and occupational threats.
director, Violence Prevention Research Program, University of California, Davis
Garen Wintemute’s interest in preventing gun violence grew out of his work as an emergency-room doctor. "Most people who die from gunshot wounds are pronounced dead at the scene; we never see them in the ED. If we want to decrease the number of people dying from gun violence, we need to prevent them from being shot."
professor of biology, Duke University
“I grew up loving nature,” Greg Wray recalls, “and it’s still what gets me up in the morning.” Once up, Wray spends his days immersed in large-scale data analysis, studying biological diversity 21st century-style. He has focused on the evolution of gene regulation partly by studying sea urchins, an organism whose gene regulatory networks are well understood, providing an intuitive understanding of how regulation works. But the major focus of the Wray Lab is the primates: understanding how changes in gene expression might have driven many of the phenotypic traits that make us human. Wray joined the faculty at Duke—where he earned his zoology PhD—in 1997.
cave research scientist, Merriam Powell Center for Environmental Research, Northern Arizona University
Jut Wynne grew up on an island in South Georgia, where he would catch and bring home snakes, frogs, turtles, baby raccoons and assorted wounded animals. Because cave exploration can be physically demanding, Wynne trains extensively to keep in shape. He has completed numerous mountain runs, including the 43-mile Mt. Taylor Quadrathlon in New Mexico, which starts at 4,500 feet and climbs to 11,501 feet.
professor of environmental engineering and forestry & environmental studies, Yale University
Julie Zimmerman is acting director of the Center for Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Yale University. In addition to green chemistry, her research interests include the development of public policies to encourage sustainability, water-treatment technology for developing countries, and programs to encourage corporate environmental responsibility.