December 21, 2018


Scientists from South Dakota State University, University of Florida, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and Denver Museum of Nature and Science Join Board of Directors

Washington, DC: The Board of Directors of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) ratified election results during its 7 December 2018 meeting. Beginning in January 2019, Dr. Charles B. Fenster, a Professor in the Department of Biology and Microbiology at South Dakota State University, will serve as President. Also joining the Board of Directors are Dr. Pamela Soltis, a Distinguished Professor and Curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida; Dr. Clifton Poodry, a Senior Science Education Fellow at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Maryland; and Dr. Gabriela Chavarria, Vice President for Research and Collections at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Colorado.

The American Institute of Biological Sciences promotes an increased understanding of life. It does this through programs that inform decision-making that advances the biological sciences for the benefit of science and society.

Dr. Fenster is a long-time member of the organization's Board of Directors, most recently serving as Treasurer. He has also previously served as the Executive Vice President of the Society for the Study of Evolution, an American Institute of Biological Sciences member organization.

As President, Dr. Fenster will work with the Board of Directors, staff members, and membership to promote the interests of the biological sciences community. "This is an important time for biology, and AIBS is working aggressively to ensure that practicing biologists, educators, funders, policymakers, and society leaders have access to high-quality information they can use to make wise decisions," he said.

A priority for Dr. Fenster is to expand membership by working with additional biological sciences fields of study and the private sector. "Through collaboration we can better serve the biological community and the public," said Dr. Fenster

The American Institute of Biological Sciences provides peer-review services to research funders ranging from federal and state agencies to private research foundations, advances science policy that promotes strategic investments in the biological sciences and the integrity and independence of the scientific community, conducts research on the peer-review process to develop best-practices for identifying the best research, communicates research findings via the highly acclaimed scientific journal BioScience and the BioScience Talks podcast series, and offers education and professional development programs that improve the communication and collaboration skills of scientists.

On joining the Board, Dr. Soltis said: "I am thrilled and honored. AIBS has long served as an important connection between biologists and science/public policy, and it is exciting to see the expansion of programs into science communication and career development. I look forward to serving AIBS, the scientific community, and the public as we together tackle important societal issues related to biology."

Dr. Poodry said, "I am delighted to join the Board. I am particularly interested in science education and in helping AIBS wrestle with the challenges involved in developing a diverse and inclusive biological workforce."

"I have been reading BioScience forever," said Dr. Chavarria. "I lived in Washington, DC for many years and I was able to take full advantage of all the great workshops, symposia and trainings the Institute organizes. I review a couple of articles [for BioScience] a year, so I was thrilled when I was invited to join the Board where I can become an official advocate of AIBS. I believe in the mission and the work the Institute and its Council members do to advance biological research and education."

Visit for more information about the American Institute of Biological Sciences.

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