Staff

Marilee Shelton-Davenport, Ph.D., Director
Division on Earth and Life Studies — Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology

Marilee Shelton-Davenport, Ph.D., is a Senior Program Officer at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine where she guides the country’s best scientists and practitioners in providing authoritative advice to agencies and other organizations interested in biomedical research and regulatory issues. She has more than 15 years of experience developing and executing impactful activities that serve the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Defense, and the Food and Drug Administration. She also has experience guiding U.S. neuroscientists in international activities and organizing biomedical courses in resource-limited countries. A natural at building bridges and working across traditional siloes in biomedical research, Marilee enjoys learning about the challenges faced by decision makers in federal agencies and identifying opportunities to help those agencies improve human health with the latest science. A leader of multi-disciplinary and multi-sector teams, Marilee is skilled at guiding groups in drilling down to the root of issues, generating strategies, developing creative ideas, and executing ideas.

 

Kathleen Stratton, Ph.D.
Health and Medicine Division — Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice

 

 

Vaughan Turekian, Ph.D.
Policy and Global Affairs — Science and Technology for Sustainability

Dr. Vaughan Turekian is the Senior Director of the Science and Technology for Sustainability (STS) Program in the Policy and Global Affairs Division (PGA). Prior to joining the STS program, Dr. Turekian served as the Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State at the Department of State since September 2015. He drew upon his background in atmospheric chemistry and extensive policy experience to promote science, technology, and engineering as integral components of U.S. diplomacy. Previously, he was Chief International Officer for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Director of AAAS’s Center for Science Diplomacy (2006 – 2015). In this capacity, he worked to build bridges between nations based on shared scientific goals, placing special emphasis on regions where traditional political relationships are strained or do not exist. As Editor-in-Chief of Science & Diplomacy, an online quarterly publication, he published original policy pieces that have served to inform international science policy recommendations. Dr. Turekian worked at the State Department as a Special Assistant and Advisor to the Under Secretary for Global Affairs (2002 – 2006) on issues related to sustainable development, climate change, environment, energy, science, technology, and health. He also served as Program Director for the Committee on Global Change Research at the National Research Council (2000 – 2002), where he was study director for a White House report on climate change science.

Dr. Turekian holds a B.S. in Geology and Geophysics and International Studies from Yale University and a M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia where he focused on the transport and chemistry of atmospheric aerosols in marine environments.

 

K. John Holmes, Ph.D.
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences — Board on Energy and Environmental Systems

Dr. K. John Holmes is the acting director and scholar for the National Academies’ Board on Energy and Environmental Systems (BEES). His responsibilities at BEES include developing, managing, and directing studies and related activities. He is currently the co-director of a study on the development of a RD&D agenda for carbon dioxide removal approaches. He recently served as the director on an electricity system resiliency study and helped organize a joint forum between the Royal Society and National Academies that focused on carbon dioxide removal and reuse. Other studies directed or co-directed by Dr. Holmes include: An Assessment of ARPA-E (2017); Cost, Effectiveness, and Deployment of Fuel Economy Technologies for Light-Duty Vehicles (2015); Overcoming Barriers to Electric Vehicle Deployment  (2015); Electricity from Renewables  (2009); and State and Federal Standards for Mobile Source Emissions (2006).  He also was a member of the NRC’s America’s Energy Future study team.  Dr. Holmes has published on a range of topics including vehicle technologies, mobile source emissions, renewable electricity, climate change, air quality management, stratospheric ozone depletion, carbon emissions trading, regulatory computational models, and the history of climate change assessment and natural resources management. He received a B.S. from Indiana University, M.S.E. from University of Washington, and Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University.

 

Ellen Mantus, Ph.D.
Division on Earth and Life Studies — Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology

Dr. Ellen Mantus is a Scholar and Director of Risk Assessment on the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology with over 20 years of experience in the fields of toxicology and risk assessment. She has served as the study director on numerous projects, including ones that have assessed the health implications of various chemical exposures, developed strategies for applying modern scientific approaches in toxicology and risk assessment, provided guidance to federal agencies on risk-based decision-making, and evaluated barriers to deployment of electric vehicles and associated charging infrastructure. Before joining the National Academies, Dr. Mantus was a project manager with ICF Consulting where she served as a primary reviewer for numerous toxicological studies and provided risk assessment and regulatory support on a wide array of projects.  Dr. Mantus received a PhD in chemistry from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

 

Toby Warden, Ph.D.
Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education — Board on Human-Systems Integration

Dr. Toby Warden is the director for the Board on Human-Systems Integration (BOHSI) and the Board on Environmental Change and Society. Dr. Warden returned to the Academies after a 2-year period as Director of Scientific Administration for the Department of Neurological Sciences and Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, spearheading strategic planning efforts to foster research collaboration. At the Academies previously, she began in 2009 as a study director on climate change and weather related activities with the Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate. She joined BOHSI in 2011 as a study director, and later associate board director, working on a number of activities related to worker safety, safety culture, systems design and organizational performance. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Ecology with an emphasis on Environmental Analysis and Design from the University of California, Irvine. A member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society she also holds a certificate in Business Fundamentals from HBX/Harvard Business School.

 

Christine Gerencher, MA
Transportation Research Board — Aviation & Environment

Christy joined the Transportation Research Board (TRB) staff in 2005 as a Senior Program Officer for Aviation and Environment in their Technical Activities Division.  She manages the nine committees within the Aviation Group and the eight committees within the Environment and Energy Section within the organization as well as provides support for TRB’s sponsors.  Prior to joining TRB, Christy worked in the corporate environmental department of American Airlines, where she was responsible for both domestic and international noise and air quality issues for the company.  Previous to her time at American, she worked for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association as a manager of airport policy and also was a consultant in the environmental practice of Landrum Brown, Inc., an airport planning firm.   Christy graduated with a BS in aviation management and flight and an MPA with an aviation concentration from Southern Illinois University and has been an active pilot for more years than she currently cares to admit.

 

David Butler, Ph.D.
Health and Medicine Division — Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice

Dr. David Butler is Scholar in the Health and Medicine Division and Director of the Office of Military and Veterans Health. Before joining the National Academies, Dr. Butler served as an analyst for the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment, was a research associate in the Department of Environmental Health of the Harvard School of Public Health, and performed research at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He has directed several National Academies studies on environmental health and risk assessment topics, including ones that produced Climate Change, the Indoor Environment, and Health, Damp Indoor Spaces and Health; Clearing the Air: Asthma and Indoor Air Exposures; and Health Risks of Indoor Exposure to Particulate Matter: Workshop Summary. Dr. Butler has also been lead staff officer for a number of reports on the effects of environmental exposures on the health of active duty military personnel and veterans, including volumes of the Veterans and Agent Orange report series. He is a recipient of the Cecil Award, the highest distinction for a staff member of the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Butler received his B.S. and M.S. in engineering from the University of Rochester and his Ph.D. in public policy analysis from Carnegie Mellon University.

 

Nicole JoyMA
Health and Medicine Division — Communications

Nicole Joy is the Director of the Health and Medicine Divisions (HMD) Office of Communications. She began working for the Academies in 2008 in the editorial office of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2010, she moved over to the National Academies’ Office of News and Public Information, where she aided in creating and sending out media materials, managing web content, and writing and laying out stories for In the Loop, the National Academies’ internal newsletter. In her current role in HMD, Nicole is the senior staff person responsible for advising on communication strategies and serves as a source for communications expertise for project staff, committees, roundtables, and boards. She is responsible for planning and directing communications activities, initiatives, and communications products for HMD, and manages the HMD communications team. Nicole also oversees the HMD website, email marketing, and social media activities as well as the report production process, and is responsible for the creation of communication and derivative products, such as briefs, infographics, and videos.  Prior to joining the National Academies, Nicole received a Bachelor’s degree in English from Rice University in Houston, TX, and a Master’s degree in English from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.

 

Keegan Sawyer, Ph.D.
Division on Earth and Life Studies — Board on Life Sciences

Dr. Keegan Sawyer is a Senior Program Officer of the Board on Life Sciences at the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Her work addresses a wide range of research, policy, and communication questions across the broad spectrum of life science disciplines. She has special interest in the interplay of environmental conditions and human health, ecosystem health, and public engagement in science. Dr. Sawyer is Director of the National Academies’ Standing Committee on Emerging Science for Environmental Health Decisions. She also served as the Project Director for the Roundtable on Public Interfaces of the Life Sciences and the Committee on Gene Drives Research in Non-Human Organisms: Recommendations for Responsible Conduct. She is committed to fostering discussions about research infrastructure, collaborative environments, and public engagement in science to support a healthier people and planet. Dr. Sawyer holds a B.S. in environmental biology from University of California Davis and an M.S. and Ph.D. in environmental sciences and engineering from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Public Health.

 

Scott Wollek, MA
Health and Medicine Division — Board on Health Sciences Policy 

Scott Wollek is a Senior Program Officer with the Board of Health Sciences Policy, where he is Director of the Standing Committee for the CDC Strategic National Stockpile and the Standing Committee on Health Threats and Workforce Resilience.  His primary interests focus on relationship networks, capacity building and network governance as applied to emergency management and public health emergency preparedness.

Prior to joining The Academies, Scott served as the Senior Disaster Program Manager at The American Red Cross in the National Capital Region.  In that role he was responsible for the management of preparedness, response and recovery programs throughout the National Capital Region, including the response to over 500 local disasters each year.  In his eleven years with the Red Cross, Scott held a variety of paid and volunteer staff positions involving local disaster response, training, exercises, plans and operations.  Scott served in leadership positions during disasters and special events including the 2009 and 2013 Presidential Inaugurations, 2010 blizzard and the NCR response to Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, the 2012 derecho, Hurricane Sandy, and the shootings at the Washington Navy Yard.

Scott holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Emergency Health Services from The George Washington University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, with a concentration in Homeland Security and Emergency Management, from George Mason University.  He maintains active membership in The American Society for Public Administration, The International Association of Emergency Managers, and the Virginia Emergency Management Association.

 

Leyla Balimtas
Division on Earth and Life Studies — Communications

Leyla Balimtas is a Communications and Media Associate for the Division on Earth and Life Studies (DELS) and the Policy and Global Affairs Division (PGA). Her primary responsibilities include promoting report releases, and study, committee, and roundtable activities and events through targeted outreach pitches, e-newsletters, and social media campaigns. She oversees the DELS and PGA websites and is fundamental in creating communication and derivative products (briefs, infographics, and videos) for Academies projects and publications. Prior to starting her work with the Academies in August 2017, she held positions with the Center for International Environmental Law and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Leyla graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication – Public Relations and minors in Sustainability Studies and Spanish Language and Cultures.

 

Jessica Wolfman
Division on Earth and Life Studies — Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology

Jessica Wolfman is a Senior Program Assistant for the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology and the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology. She joined the Academies in August 2017. Jessica graduated from Dickinson College with a Bachelor of Science in Earth Sciences and a minor in Mathematics.

 

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