The American Institute of Biological Sciences is pleased to announce newly elected members to the Board of Directors and those serving in Officer positions for the term beginning January 2023. The complete list of all Board members and committee assignments may be found here.
Judy Skog- President
Judith E. Skog is professor emerita in the Departments of Biology and Environmental Biology and Policy at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA, where she was a faculty member for 33 years. She has served at the National Science Foundation in a number of roles: program director for the Division of Biological Infrastructure, the Division of Environmental Biology, and the Division of Emerging Frontiers (Biology Directorate); program director for the Division of Earth Sciences (Geology Directorate); and Deputy Division Director and Division Director for Biological Infrastructure (Biology). She is a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Institution.
She served as a member of the Board of AIBS from 2011-2021, acting as Secretary from 2011-2016, Member Representative from 2016-2019 and Vice President from 2019-2021. She is a member of the board for the International Organization of Plant Taxonomists North America. Other society offices held include President of the Botanical Society of America (BSA), Chair of BSA Paleobotanical Section, Chair of BSA Pteridological Section, American Fern Society President, Vice-President, and Records Treasurer, AIBS Council Representative; International Association of Plant Taxonomists Chair and Secretary of the Committee on Fossil Plants, and member of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature Editorial Committee.
Betsy Myers- Treasurer
Elizabeth (Betsy) Myers is retired from the position of Program Director for Medical Research at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, where she worked to advance the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of human disease by strengthening and supporting biomedical research. She joined the foundation in 2005 and managed a portfolio of approximately $70 million in active research grants made to universities and research institutions and developed new grant programs. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the Health Research Alliance from 2014–2020 (Chair of the Board from 2016–2018), which is a coalition of over 100 nonprofit funders of biomedical research that work together to maximize research impact. She was also an active member of the following committees: Sharing Clinical Trial Data: An Action Collaborative at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine; the Initiative for Women in Science and Engineering Working Group at the New York Stem Cell Foundation; and the Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. Before joining the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Betsy spent two decades as a researcher at academic medical centers. She has a BS from Duke University and PhD from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She held academic appointments as instructor and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and associate professor at Weill Medical College of Cornell University.
Pam Soltis- Secretary
Pamela S. Soltis is a Distinguished Professor and Curator in the Florida Museum of Natural History and Director of the Biodiversity Institute at the University of Florida. She serves on several university committees, including the Museum’s Natural History Department Advisory Council. She is Director for Research at iDigBio, the NSF-funded national center for digitization of biodiversity collections, where she works with the collections community and biodiversity scientists from around the world to develop and promote the use of herbarium specimens (and other natural history collections) in innovative research. Dr. Soltis received a BA in Biology from Central College (Pella, IA) (1980), a PhD in Botany from the University of Kansas (1986), and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Central College (2017). She currently serves on the AIBS Board of Directors, where she chaired the ad hoc Membership Committee and is currently part of the IDEA Conference Organizing Committee. She is the current President of the International Society for Phylogenetic Nomenclature. She recently (2019–2020) served as President of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists and has served ASPT as President-Elect, as Past-President, on the Council (1993–1996), on the Honors and Awards Committee (1993–1995; Chair, 1995), as a Cooley Award Judge several years; Chair, 1995), as a reviewer of manuscripts for Systematic Botany, and currently as a liaison for ASPT to several projects directed at diversity, equity, and inclusion in science. She has also served her profession as President of the Botanical Society of America; President of the Society of Systematic Biologists; a Council Member for the Society for the Study of Evolution, the International Society for Phylogenetic Nomenclature, and the American Genetics Association; and an associate/handling editor of numerous journals (Applications in Plant Sciences, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Science, The Plant Cell, Systematic Biology, Evolution, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, Taxon, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, Conservation Biology). She has received several awards for her contributions to the study of plant diversity, most notably the International Prize in Botany (Physiographic Society of Lund, Sweden), the Asa Gray Award (American Society of Plant Taxonomists), the Darwin-Wallace Award (Linnean Society of London), and the Botanical Society of America’s Merit Award, all jointly with Douglas E. Soltis. She is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
From 2011 to his retirement from Federal service in April 2018, Richard Nakamura, PhD, was Director of the Center for Scientific Review (CSR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). He led CSR’s 500 scientists and administrative staff, overseeing their efforts to manage 80,000 incoming NIH grant applications a year and review most of them in CSR peer review groups. CSR holds about 1,500 review meetings a year, involving about 16,000 reviewers from the scientific community.
Before 2011, Dr. Nakamura had a 32-year tenure at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), where he served as both Scientific Director and Deputy Director of the institute. He was Acting Director from 2001 to 2002. During his time at NIMH, his awards included the Presidential Rank Award for outstanding leadership.
Dr. Nakamura earned his BA in psychology from Earlham College and received his PhD in psychology from the State University of New York in Stony Brook. Dr. Nakamura has expertise in several areas, including the grant award and policy process at NIH, cognitive and comparative neuroscience, and ethics in science.
One over-arching aspiration I have is to collaborate with others within AIBS and across other societies to further strengthen, develop and diversify our national biological community and the workforce we represent. In particular, I would strive to identify and help collect the most appropriate metrics to assess the progress we are making and guide adjustments towards greater inclusivity and a more diverse globalized biological sciences enterprise in the U.S.
Verónica Segarra, PhD, is currently Associate Professor and the Maryland E-Nnovation Endowed Chair in Biological Sciences and Chemistry at Goucher College, a liberal arts college in Baltimore, Maryland. Her contributions to science have come in the form of research breakthroughs in cell biology, cellular self-eating, and membrane traffic. Her lab at Goucher College is not only the home base for her research program, but a place where undergraduate students receive one-on-one mentoring as they strive to develop their identity in science and research.
Dr. Segarra’s scholarly service is through positions of leadership in scientific societies. These societies include the Association of Southeastern Biologists (ASB), an AIBS member, where she is an elected member-at-large of the Executive Committee and editor of its laboratory-based scientific journal eBio. She is also an elected member of Council in the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) where she also serves as an associate editor of its scientific journal Molecular Biology of the Cell. In the past, she has been a co-leader of ASCB’s Minorities Affairs Committee and ASB’s Human Diversity Committee. In this role, she organized efforts by more than thirty prominent scientists and scholars in the management and implementation of programs designed to promote diversification of our STEM workforce. She has also led collaborative research and scholarship related to the role of scientific societies in driving cultural change in scientific disciplines. This service-turned-scholarship work has resulted in peer-reviewed publications in science education journals and successful applications for additional major grants from two major federal funding agencies, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Dr. Segarra is Principal Investigator (PI) and co-PI of federally-funded grants focused on STEM workforce development that aim to leverage scientific societies in the biological sciences to change the landscape of national STEM diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Dr. Segarra co-founded and co-directs the Alliance to Catalyze Change for Equity in STEM Success (ACCESS; NSF 1744098) organization, a group of scientific society diversity-focused committees coming together to exchange promising practices and data. She is also co-PI on the ADVANCE Partnership grant that is sponsoring ACCESS growing into a larger network of societies, known as ACCESS+ (NSF 2017953). Most recently, Dr. Segarra and her ACCESS team received a BIO-LEAPS grant to establish a Research Coordination Network that aims to crowdsource evidence-based solutions to persistent cultural challenges scientific societies face (NSF 2134725). Dr. Segarra also creates and implements innovative professional development programming for early-career scientists that are members of the ASCB under the auspices of an Innovative Programs to Enhance Research Training grant (IPERT; NIH 5R25GM116707-06).
Dr. Segarra completed her PhD in Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale. As an undergraduate, she completed a BS in Biochemistry and a BA in Chemistry at the University of Miami. From 2015–2022 she was an Assistant Professor of Biology at High Point University (HPU), a private regional college in High Point, NC, where she earned tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in the spring of 2022. From 2020–2022, she served as the Interim Chair of Biology at HPU.
Lydia Villa-Komaroff, PhD, is founder and President of Intersections SBD Consulting. She is a molecular biologist, a business executive, and a diversity advocate. She was among the early cadre of scientists who first joined DNA from animals or people to DNA from bacteria to make useful proteins and to study biological processes and human diseases. She is a board member of ATCC and Cytonome and serves on several academic advisory boards. Villa-Komaroff held faculty positions at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Children’s Hospital (Boston), and Harvard Medical School. As an administrator, she served as Vice President for Research at Northwestern University (Illinois) and Vice President for Research and Chief Operating Officer of the Whitehead Institute (Cambridge, MA). She has served on advisory committees for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, and the Massachusetts Life Science Board. She represented small business for the State Department at an Asian-Pacific Economic conference. She is co-founding member of SACNAS (Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science), a fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Association for Women in Science (AWIS). Her awards include the 2013 Woman of Distinction from the American Association of University Women, the 2016 Elting Morison prize from the MIT Program in Science and Technology, and the 2021 SACNAS Presidential Award. She received her BA from Goucher College, her PhD from MIT, and a certificate in executive management from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
John Bates- 2023 Member Society Organization Executive Board Representative
John Bates is a curator of birds at the Field Museum and member of the Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago. He has 14 years of leadership service within the Field Museum, where he served as Chair of Zoology and Section Head of Life Sciences. He is currently past president of the Natural Science Collections Alliance (NSCA), a member of the Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) and a member of the USA Nagoya Protocol Action Group (USANPAG). He is also co-chair of the American Ornithological Society’s Collections Committee. He has been actively involved in IDEA efforts at both the institutional and societal levels. The lab that he jointly oversees with his wife and fellow curator Shannon Hackett studies the evolution of birds using fieldwork and specimen-based approaches at multiple scales around the world.