New Horizons in Science 2014 Speakers
Alán Aspuru-Guzik works at the interface of quantum information and chemistry and harnesses large-scale computation for discovering molecules that will enable critical advances in technology. In particular, he is interested in the use of quantum computers and dedicated quantum simulators for chemical systems. He and his group recently developed a density functional theory for open quantum systems. He also leads the Clean Energy Project, a distributed computing effort for screening renewable energy materials. A graduate of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Aspuru-Guzik launched his faculty career at Harvard in 2006 after earning his PhD and conducting postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley. He has received a number of awards for research and teaching and in 2010 was selected as a Top Innovator Under 35 by MIT’s Technology Review. In 2012, he was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society and received the ACS Early Career Award in Theoretical Chemistry.
John Beacom has been at Ohio State since 2004 and was named professor in 2010. The fundamental goal of his work is to help turn "neutrino astronomy" from an oxymoron into a observational science and to develop its theoretical consequences. His research spans neutrinos, supernovae, high-energy astrophysics and dark matter, and frequently connects theory to experiment and observation and physics to astronomy. His research, teaching and service has been recognized by a National Science Foundation CAREER award and Fellowship in the American Physical Society, two major teaching awards from OSU and an Outstanding Referee Award from the APS. He is currently Chair of the APS Division of Astrophysics.
Martha Ann Belury earned her PhD in biological sciences, specializing in carcinogenesis, from the University of Texas at Austin Her research seeks to identify dietary components that prevent carcinogenesis. Compounds that she evaluates include dietary fatty acids and flavonoids, a diverse group of bioactives that affect energy metabolism and inflammation. Her research has resulted in more than 90 research articles and funding support from a variety of agencies (NIH, USDA, NASA), private organizations (American Cancer Society, American Institute for Cancer Research) and for-profit companies. Belury has served as a grant reviewer for the American Cancer Society, American Institute for Cancer Research, National Institutes of Health, Agricultural Research Service and Department of Defense. She serves on the editorial boards of Lipids, the journal of the American Oil Chemists Society, and Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. She was recently honored as having published the 17th most cited paper in the 70-year history of Nutrition Reviews and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
For about 30 years, Brad Bushman has studied the factors that cause human aggression, including violent media. He is a member of President Obama’s committee on gun violence, and has testified before the U.S. Congress on the topic of youth violence. He has published over 170 peer-reviewed journal articles. Google Scholar lists more than 25,000 citations for Bushman's articles, ranking him #2 among communication scholars cited. In 2014 he received the Distinguished Lifetime Contribution to Media Psychology and Technology from the American Psychological Association. His research has challenged several myths (violent media have a trivial effect on aggression, venting anger reduces aggression, violent people suffer from low self-esteem, violence and sex sell products, warning labels reduce audience size). One of his colleagues even calls him the "myth buster." His research has been published in top scientific journals including Science and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and has been featured extensively in mass media including the BBC, New York Times and NPR.
George Church is a prolific, creative and entrepreneurial scientist and engineer whose work has repeatedly pushed forward the frontiers of genome science, bioengineering and synthetic biology. In his 1984 Harvard doctoral research, Church developed the first methods for direct genome sequencing, molecular multiplexing and barcode tagging, helping launch a “next generation” of sequencing technologies that eventually led to mapping of the human genome. This work also led directly to the first commercial genome sequence (for the human pathogen Helicobacter pylori) in 1994. His laboratory continues to develop genome-engineering technologies and is now leading experimentation with CRISPR. In addition, Church founded the Personal Genome Project in 2005 and today is director of PersonalGenomes.org, the world's only open-access database of information on human genomic, environmental and trait data. His lab’s innovations have resulted in the founding of companies in medical diagnostics (Knome, Alacris, AbVitro and Pathogenica) and synthetic biology and therapeutics (Joule, Gen9, Editas, Egenesis, enEvolv and WarpDrive). Church has also been active in developing privacy, biosafety and biosecurity policy. He is director of the NIH Center for Excellence in Genomic Science. He has been elected to both the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering and been awarded the Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science of the Franklin Institute. He has coauthored 330 papers, 60 patents and a popular 2012 book (with Ed Regis), Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves.
Carlo Croce is internationally renowned for his discoveries that cancer is a genetic disease and of the genes and molecular mechanisms involved in the development of leukemias, lymphomas and other cancers. In 2002 he discovered alterations in microRNA genes in human malignancies; he has since shown that microRNA dysregulation contributes to the development of all tumors, discoveries that have led to innovative treatments based on gene-target discovery. Educated in biochemistry and medicine at the University of Rome “La Sapienza,” he began his career at the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia; he also held appointments at the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and later as director of the cancer research centers at both Temple University and Thomas Jefferson University. He moved to Ohio State in 2004 and now directs research in cancer genetics. A member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Italian National Academy of Sciences, he has been presented copious honors in the US and Europe and has published more than 1,000 research papers. He is also professor of medical oncology at the University of Ferrara School of Medicine in Italy.
Matthew R. Francis is a science writer, physicist, public speaker, educator, and frequent wearer of jaunty hats. He contributes a weekly column about astronomy and space to The Daily Beast. His writing has also appeared in Ars Technica, Slate, Nautilus, Aeon, and a variety of other publications. A former college professor and planetarium director, he holds a PhD in physics and astronomy from Rutgers University.
Wildlife biologist Stan Gehrt studies various aspects of mammalian ecology, especially urban systems and the dynamics of wildlife disease. He is principal investigator of the largest urban coyote study conducted to date, in which he has tracked more than 800 coyotes in the Chicago area for over a decade. He also studies coyote and deer ecology in Cleveland, Ohio, and has a collaborative project on the ecology of eastern coyotes in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Nova Scotia. As an expert on human-coyote conflicts, Gehrt has consulted with cities across the US and Canada. His research has been featured in numerous print, radio and television outlets, including ABC, PBS, and the History and National Geographic channels. He is senior editor of the book Urban Carnivores, published in 2010 by Johns Hopkins University Press. He earned his PhD at the University of Missouri studying the social organization of raccoons in south Texas. He joined the OSU faculty in 2003.
Maura Gillison is a medical oncologist and molecular epidemiologist. She was among the first scientists to establish an association between human papillomavirus infection and head and neck cancer. Her body of work has caused a paradigm shift in concepts of risk and management of head and neck cancer and has had significant implications for prevention, screening, diagnostics, prognostics and therapy. Gillison earned an MD and PhD at Johns Hopkins University before joining the Hopkins faculties in oncology, epidemiology and molecular microbiology and immunology. She was recruited to Ohio State in 2009 to occupy the Jeg Coughlin Chair of Cancer Research at the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center. Gillison has published extensively in journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the National Cancer Institute and Journal of Clinical Oncology. She continues this work through broad collaborations spanning public health, oncology and genomic analysis.
After completing a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Ohio State, Josh Goldberger went to the University of California at Berkeley as an NSF graduate fellow and completed his PhD with Peidong Yang in 2006. Named an NIH-NRSA postdoctoral fellow, he worked with Professor Sam Stupp at Northwestern University’s Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine. He has received many awards, including the IUPAC Prize for Young Chemists. Since joining the OSU Chemistry Department in 2010, he has been working on materials at the atomic scale.
Since turning down an audition with the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater to pursue science, Erich Jarvis has studied molecular pathways in avian brains as a window into how the brain controls complex behavior. He has proposed theories about the evolution of vocal production and learning in birds and how it relates to the origins of human language. A graduate of Hunter College, he earned his PhD in molecular neurobiology and animal behavior in 1995 at the Rockefeller University, where he did graduate and postdoctoral work in the lab of Fernando Nottebohm. Using a method he termed "behavioral molecular mapping" to determine how a bird's motor activities influence the resulting changes in gene expression in the brain, Jarvis has traced out the brain pathways for vocal learning in three distantly related birds—parrots, hummingbirds, and songbirds—and is now exploring evolutionary connections to understand how these pathways develop. Awards for his work include the NSF’s Alan T. Waterman Award, the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award; his work made Discover's top 100 science discoveries of 2005, and he was chosen one of Popular Science’s Brilliant 10 of 2006.
Don Johanson fulfilled a childhood dream when in 1974 he earned his PhD in anthropology at the University of Chicago and joined Case Western Reserve University as a junior faculty member. That same year, on a search for hominid fossils at Hadar in the Afar Triangle of Ethiopia, Johanson found Lucy, the 3.2-million-year-old partial fossil skeleton that changed the conventional account of human evolution. Returning the following year, the group found the remains of at least 13 individuals that Johanson argued were a new species, Australopithecus afarensis, a likely common ancestor to subsequent species of both Australopithecus and Homo. Johanson analyzed the fossils at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, where he was appointed curator of physical anthropology in 1975. He went on to found the Institute of Human Origins in Berkeley, Calif., in 1981 and directed IHO until 2009, moving it to Arizona State University in 1997. Johanson has used the Lucy story extensively to excite and inform the public about human origins research. He has authored or co-authored several books, including Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind (1991); Ancestors: In Search of Human Origins (1994); From Lucy to Language (2006); and Lucy’s Legacy: The Quest for Human Origins (2010). His Webby-winning website www.becominghuman.org is used worldwide as a powerful learning tool for students from elementary school through the university level. Today he continues to conduct research at Hadar and teach at ASU. Recipient of many international prizes and awards, he is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of the Siena Academy of Sciences. With support from the National Science Foundation, the L. S. B. Leakey Foundation and the National Geographic Society, he has carried out field research in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Tanzania as well as Ethiopia.
Media contact: Julie Du Brow, email@example.com (310) 922-1301
Marc Kamionkowski is a theoretical physicist who specializes in cosmology. He earned his PhD in physics at the University of Chicago, followed by postdoctoral study at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and faculty positions at Columbia University, where from 2006 to 2011 he was the Robinson Professor of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics. In 2011 he joined the faculty at Johns Hopkins. Kamionkowski’s most significant research contributions are in the theory of dark matter, dark energy and the cosmic microwave background, but he has also worked in other areas of astrophysics and early-Universe and physical cosmology. His recent honors include the E. O. Lawrence Award for Physics (2006), an American Physical Society Fellowship (2008) and a Miller Visiting Research Professorship at Berkeley (2010). He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2013 and in 2014 named a Simons Foundation Investigator. Editor-in-chief and astrophysics and cosmology editor for Physics Reports, he has also served as an editor of the Journal of High Energy Physics and the Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics. In addition to his service on national committees and external advisory panels, he is a member and trustee at the Aspen Center for Physics.
Janice Kiecolt-Glaser holds the S. Robert Davis Chair of Medicine at the Ohio State University College of Medicine and is a member of the OSU Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research. Her studies in psychoneuroimmunology have demonstrated important health consequences of stress, including slower wound healing, impaired vaccine responses, and accelerated inflammation. In addition, her programmatic work has focused on how personal relationships influence immune and endocrine function, and health. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine and a fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Psychological Association. She has served on the editorial boards of 10 journals. Her research has been supported by a series of grants from the National Institutes of Health, including a MERIT award.
Carol Mallory-Smith’s research has focused on the problem of gene flow between crops and seeds, a problem that has slowed progress in agricultural biotechnology and raised environmental concerns. Her work has placed her in the middle of disputes involving growers, companies, activists and regulators in Oregon. A former English major, Mallory-Smith turned to botany and earned a PhD in plant science at the University of Idaho, joining the Oregon State faculty in 1994. She has been president of the Weed Science Society of America and chaired its Herbicide Resistance Committee.
Cristina Marchetti is a theoretical physicist intrigued by the dynamics that govern the behavior of “active matter”—the myriad biological and physical systems, from flocks to superconducting vortices to living cells, that exhibit collective physical behavior. She has been a theorist in this field since coming to the US from Italy in 1978 to study “systems far from equilibrium” in her PhD research at the University of Florida. In 1987 she joined the faculty of Syracuse University, where she was awarded the Kenan professorship in 2005. Over the years she has convened conferences bringing together biologists, engineers, mathematicians and physics to advance the theory of active matter. In early 2014 she was co-organizer of a four-month program on active systems at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) at UC Santa Barbara. Marchetti is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the AAAS and was awarded the 2013 Simons Foundation Fellowship in Theoretical Physics. She has served as chair of the Syracuse physics department and of KITP’s Advisory Board and Steering Committee and is currently associate director of the Syracuse Biomaterials Institute.
Before becoming the science editor for Wired.com, Betsy Mason was an award-winning science reporter at the Contra Costa Times in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is a graduate of the Science Communication Program at UC Santa Cruz and has written about science for publications including Nature, Science, Discover and New Scientist. Before becoming a journalist, Betsy was a geologist, and has a master's degree in geology from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University. A member of the CASW Board of Directors, she is also the beer reporter for Wired.com
Ellen Mosley-Thompson uses the chemical and physical properties preserved in ice cores collected from the polar ice sheets and high mountain glaciers to reconstruct the Earth’s complex climate history. She has led nine expeditions to Antarctica and six to Greenland to retrieve ice cores. She served as the principal investigator and field team leader for the ice core drilling project on Bruce Plateau (Antarctic Peninsula) which was part of LARsen Ice Shelf System Antarctica (LARISSA), a U.S. contribution to the International Polar Year. Areas of special interest include paleoclimatology, abrupt climate changes, glacier retreat, Holocene climate variability and contemporary climate change. She joined the Ohio State faculty in 1990 and became director of the Byrd Polar Research Center in 2009. Mosley-Thompson is a member of the National Academy of Science, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the American Geophysical Union. She was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal in 2012.
Giorgio Rizzoni received his undergraduate and graduate training in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Michigan and went on to conduct research as a postdoctoral fellow, assistant research scientist and lecturer at UM. He joined the OSU mechanical engineering faculty in 1990. He has held visiting positions at the University of Bologna, Italy, the Swiss Federal Polytechnic Institute (ETH) in Zürich and the Politecnicos of Milan and Turin. Since 1999 he has been the director of the OSU Center for Automotive Research (CAR), an interdisciplinary university research center in the College of Engineering. CAR conducts research on advanced automotive and transportation technologies and systems engineering, focusing on sustainable, safe and intelligent mobility. Rizzoni’s research interests are in system dynamics, measurement, control and fault diagnosis with application to automotive systems. He has a special interest in future ground vehicle propulsion systems, including advanced engines, electric and hybrid-electric drivetrains, and electrochemical energy storage and conversion systems.
Per Sederberg grew up in South Carolina as a child of four university professors (two English, two political science). Though always a big fan of computer programming, he went to the University of Virginia expecting to be a physics and math major. Per soon became fascinated with the brain and mind, and he switched his major to cognitive science, where it seemed every class he wanted to take counted toward the major. After working in both cognitive and computational neuroscience labs as an undergrad, he took four years off to work as a software developer before returning to graduate school at Brandeis University and the University of Pennsylvania to earn a PhD in neuroscience with a focus on electrophysiological and computational mechanisms of human memory. He went on to a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton, where he studied machine-learning approaches to the analysis of neural data.In 2010 he joined the psychology faculty at Ohio State University, where he runs the OSU Computational Memory Lab.
Allison Snow’s Plant Population Ecology Lab studies natural selection and ecological processes within plant populations, including the dynamics of gene flow, especially involving transgenic plants. Trained as a plant ecologist at the University of Massachusetts, Snow received postdoctoral fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution. Her current research combines molecular and ecological approaches to understand how quickly crop genes move into wild populations, and the extent to which novel transgenic traits could benefit weedy and semi-weedy plants. She is the lead author of a 2005 Ecological Society of America position paper on environmental effects of genetically engineered organisms. A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program, she has served on the editorial boards of Ecology, Ecological Monographs, Evolution and Environmental Biosafety Research. A past president of the Botanical Society of America, she has served on the US Department of Agriculture’s National Genetic Resources Advisory Board and panels convened to discuss issues in transgenic organisms by the National Research Council and the Academy of Finland. In 2002, she was one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Researchers in Science and Technology. She also directs the Undergraduate Research Office at Ohio State.
Lonnie Thompson is one of the world’s foremost authorities on paleoclimatology and glaciology. He has led 60 expeditions during the last 40 years, conducting ice-core drilling programs in the Polar Regions as well as on tropical and subtropical ice fields in 16 countries including China, Peru, Russia, Tanzania and Papua, Indonesia (New Guinea). Thompson and his team were the first to developed lightweight solar-powered drilling equipment for the acquisition of histories from ice fields in the high Andes of Peru and on Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The results from these ice-core-derived climate histories, published in more than 230 articles, have contributed greatly toward improved understanding of Earth’s climate system, both past and present. Thompson is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and in 2007 was awarded the National Medal of Science. In 2013 he was awarded the International Science and Technology Cooperation Award of the People’s Republic of China by the President of China, the highest honor given to a foreign scientist.
Emily Waltz is a freelance science journalist specializing in biotechnology and the business of science. She writes frequently for Nature Biotechnology, where she has been a contributor for nine years. Her work has also appeared in Nature, IEEE Spectrum, Scientific American, Discover and Mother Jones. She regularly covers genetically modified crops, and has written features about the challenges faced by researchers and writers working in this field. Those stories can be found on her website, www.emilywaltz.com. See “Battlefield,” “Under Wraps,” “Tiptoeing Around Transgenics,” and “Censorship of Science.” Emily received a master's degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York City and a bachelor's degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. She began her career in New York and now lives with her husband and two sons in Nashville. Emily can be contacted through her website.
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