About the Presidents

Marcia K. McNutt is a geophysicist and president of the National Academy of Sciences. From 2013 to 2016, she served as editor-in-chief of the Science journals. Prior to joining Science, she was director of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) from 2009 to 2013. During her tenure, the USGS responded to a number of major disasters, including earthquakes in Haiti, Chile, and Japan, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. McNutt led a team of government scientists and engineers at BP headquarters in Houston who helped contain the oil and cap the well. She directed the flow rate technical group that estimated the rate of oil discharge during the spill’s active phase. For her contributions, she was awarded the U.S. Coast Guard’s Meritorious Service Medal.

Before joining the USGS, McNutt served as president and chief executive officer of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), in Moss Landing, California. During her time at MBARI, the institution became a leader in developing biological and chemical sensors for remote ocean deployment, installed the first deep-sea cabled observatory in U.S. waters, and advanced the integration of artificial intelligence into autonomous underwater vehicles for complex undersea missions.

McNutt began her academic career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she was the E.A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics and directed the Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science & Engineering, jointly offered by MIT and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Her research area is the dynamics of the upper mantle and lithosphere on geologic time scales, work that has taken her to distant continents and oceans for field observations. She is a veteran of more than a dozen deep-sea expeditions, on most of which she was chief or co-chief scientist.

McNutt received a B.A. in physics from Colorado College and her Ph.D. in earth sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Her honors include membership in the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She holds honorary doctoral degrees from the Colorado College, the University of Minnesota, Monmouth University, and the Colorado School of Mines. In 1988, she was awarded the American Geophysical Union’s Macelwane Medal for research accomplishments by a young scientist, and she received the Maurice Ewing Medal in 2007 for her contributions to deep-sea exploration.

McNutt served as president of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) from 2000 to 2002. She was chair of the Board of Governors for Joint Oceanographic Institutions, responsible for operating the International Ocean Discovery Program’s vessel JOIDES Resolution and associated research programs. She is a fellow of AGU, the Geological Society of America, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and International Association of Geodesy.


C.D. (Dan) Mote, Jr. is President of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and Regents Professor, on leave, from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Dr. Mote is a native Californian who earned his BS, MS, and PhD degrees at the University of California, Berkeley in mechanical engineering between 1959 and 1963. After a postdoctoral year in England and three years as an assistant professor at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, he returned to Berkeley to join the faculty in mechanical engineering for the next 31 years. He and his students investigated the dynamics, stability, and control of high-speed rotating and translating continua (e.g., disks, webs, tapes, and cables) as well as biomechanical problems emanating from snow skiing. He coined the area called “dynamics of axially moving materials” encompassing these systems. Fifty-eight PhD students earned their degrees under his mentorship.

At Berkeley, he held an endowed chair in mechanical systems and served as chair of the mechanical engineering department from 1987 to 1991 when the National Research Council (NRC) ranked its graduate program effectiveness highest nationally. Because of his success at raising funds for mechanical engineering, in 1991 he was appointed vice chancellor at Berkeley expressly to create and lead a $1 billion capital campaign for the campus that ultimately reached $1.4 billion.

In 1998, Dr. Mote was recruited to the presidency of the University of Maryland, College Park, a position he held until 2010 when he was appointed Regents Professor. His goal for the university was to elevate its self-expectation of achievement and its national and global position through proactive initiatives. During his tenure the number of Academy members among the faculty tripled, three Nobel laureates were recognized, and an accredited school of public health and a new department of bioengineering were created. He also founded a 130-acre research park next to the campus, faculty research funds increased by 150%, and partnerships with surrounding federal agencies and with international organizations expanded greatly. The number of students studying abroad tripled, and he created an annual open house day that has attracted over 100,000 visitors on that day, founded a charitable foundation for the campus whose board of trustees launched a $1 billion capital campaign that reached its goal, and took every student to lunch that wanted to go. The Academic Ranking of World Universities ranked the campus #36 in 2010 and its Engineering School #13 globally.

The NAE elected him to membership in 1988, and to the positions of Councillor (2002-2008), Treasurer (2009-2013), and President for six years beginning July 1, 2013. He has served on the NRC Governing Board Executive Committee since 2009. He chaired the NRC Committee on Global Science and Technology Strategies and Their Effects on US National Security (2009-2010), cochaired the National Academies Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable (2007-2013), and cochaired the Committee on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Workforce Needs for the US Department of Defense and the US Industrial Base (2011-2012). He was vice chair of the NRC Committee on the Department of Defense Basic Research (2004) and served on the NRC committee authoring the Rising Above the Gathering Storm reports of 2005 and 2010. He was also a founding member of the FBI’s National Security Higher Education Advisory Board (2005-2010).

Dr. Mote’s recognitions include the NAE Founders Award, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Medal, and the Humboldt Prize of the Federal Republic of Germany. At the University of California, Berkeley, he was honored with the Distinguished Teaching Award, Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award, Berkeley Citation, and Excellence in Achievement Award. He is an Honorary Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Mechanics, the Acoustical Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He holds three honorary doctorates and two honorary professorships.

Dzau head shotVictor J. Dzau is the President of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), formerly the Institute of Medicine (IOM). In addition, he serves as Chair of the Health and Medicine Division Committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. He is Chancellor Emeritus and James B. Duke Professor of Medicine at Duke University and the past President and CEO of the Duke University Health System. Previously, Dr. Dzau was the Hersey Professor of Theory and Practice of Medicine and Chairman of Medicine at Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as well as Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University.

Dr. Dzau has made a significant impact on medicine through his seminal research in cardiovascular medicine and genetics, his pioneering of the discipline of vascular medicine, and his leadership in health care innovation. His important work on the renin angiotensin system (RAS) paved the way for the contemporary understanding of RAS in cardiovascular disease and the development of RAS inhibitors as widely used, lifesaving drugs. Dr. Dzau also pioneered gene therapy for vascular disease, and his recent work on stem cell paracrine mechanisms and the use of microRNA in direct reprogramming provides novel insight into stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.

In his role as a leader in health care, Dr. Dzau has led efforts in health care innovation. His vision is for academic health sciences centers to lead the transformation of medicine through innovation, translation, and globalization. Leading this vision at Duke, he and his colleagues developed the Duke Translational Medicine Institute, the Duke Global Health Institute, the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, and the Duke Institute for Health Innovation. These initiatives create a seamless continuum from discovery and translational sciences to clinical care, and they promote transformative innovation in health.

As one of the world’s preeminent academic health leaders, Dr. Dzau advises governments, corporations, and universities worldwide. He has  been a member of the Council of the IOM and the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as Chair of the NIH Cardiovascular Disease Advisory Committee and the Association of Academic Health Centers. He served on the Governing Board of the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School and the Board of Health Governors of the World Economic Forum and chaired its Global Agenda Council on Personalized and Precision Medicine. He also served as the Senior Health Policy Advisor to Her Highness Sheikha Moza (Chair of the Qatar Foundation). Currently, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Singapore Health System, the Expert Board of the Imperial College Health Partners, UK, and the International Advisory Board of the Biomedical Science Council of Singapore. In 2011, he led a partnership between Duke University, the World Economic Forum, and McKinsey, and he founded the International Partnership for Innovative Healthcare Delivery and currently chairs its Board of Directors.

Among his honors and recognitions are the Gustav Nylin Medal from the Swedish Royal College of Medicine; the Max Delbruck Medal from Humboldt University, Charité, and the Max Planck Institute; the Commemorative Gold Medal from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich; the Inaugural Hatter Award from the Medical Research Council of South Africa; the Polzer Prize from the European Academy of Sciences and Arts; the Novartis Award for Hypertension Research; the Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Heart Association (AHA); and the AHA Research Achievement Award for his contributions to cardiovascular biology and medicine. Recently, he was awarded the Public Service Medal by the President of Singapore. He has received nine honorary doctorates.