Committee Members

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Cynthia M. Beall (Member, National Academy of Sciences)
S. Idell Pyle Professor of Anthropology, Case Western Reserve University

Dr. Beall’s primary research focuses on how populations with different microevolutionary histories adapt to the lifelong environmental stress of high-altitude hypoxia. She conducts her research with populations on the Andean plateau of South America, the Tibetan Plateau of Central Asia, and the Simien Plateau of East Africa. This work has revealed two different patterns of adaptation to hypoxia rather than the single universal human response envisioned by classical environmental physiologists. She also investigates how the influence of the sociocultural environment can both create and buffer stress and can have beneficial and detrimental effects on human biology.

She received her Bachelors degree in biology from the University of Pennsylvania and her Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology from Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Beall also has a long-term interest in evolutionary medicine and is working with colleagues on her campus and with the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center to develop resources for teaching this topic to undergraduates.

She has a long record of service to the NAS, including the NAS Council, and the NRC. Currently Dr. Beall is a member of the Division Committee for the Division on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.

Paul Beardsley
Center for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (CEMaST)
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Paul Beardsley recently joined the faculty at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Previously, he was a science educator at the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) where he was the Principal Investigator for the NIH-sponsored Evolution and Medicine high school project and Co-PI for the Rare Diseases and Scientific Inquiry middle school project. He worked on high school and middle school comprehensive curricula, including BSCS Science: An Inquiry Approach, BSCS Biology: A Human Approach, and Agile Mind Biology. He helped design the on-line professional development program for teachers of multidisciplinary science called Across the Sciences (a joint project with Oregon Public Broadcasting), and professional development with a range of teachers, including developing a leadership institute with Seattle Public School science teachers. He is also currently conducting research in evolution education.

In prior faculty positions at Idaho State University and Colorado College, Dr. Beardsley helped direct a doctoral level program in biological education and participated in an NSF GK-12 program matching graduate students in science with K-12 teachers. He taught graduate courses in biology education and educational research, trained pre-service teachers, and also taught graduate and undergraduate courses in evolution, ecology, botany and cell biology. Graduate students in his lab carried out research in plant evolution and biology education.

Dr. Beardsley earned the Ph.D. degree at the University of Washington in plant evolution. His research focuses on plant molecular systematics, the genetics of plant speciation, and the genetics of rare plants. He also earned a secondary science teaching license and taught at both the middle and high school levels. His research interests in science education include student learning in evolution and scientist-teacher partnerships.

Ida Chow
Executive Officer
Society for Developmental Biology

Ida Chow is the Executive Officer of the Society for Developmental Biology (SDB). She is in charge of managing the society and participates in many of its activities, including educational activities such as education symposia and workshops at the annual and regional meetings, Boot Camp for New Faculty, a teaching digital library, science education outreach at all levels, and career issues. She organized SDB’s “perfect partner” participation at the First USA Science and Engineering Festival held in October 2010, DC, with a teacher workshop, a speaker at the Nifty Fifty series, a Nobel laureates lecture and pre-lecture meeting with local students and their parents, and a booth with viewing of live frog and zebrafish embryos and other hands-on activities at the Festival Expo.

Dr. Chow was Co-PI of three NSF Pan American Advanced Studies Institute (PASI) program grants to conduct short courses for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from US and Latin American institutions in developmental biology in Brazil (2005), Argentina (2008) and Chile (2010), a collaboration between SDB and the Latin American Society for Developmental Biology,. She also was the author of an NSF sub-award for SDB’s teaching digital library, LEADER, a partner of the BEN Pathway administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She chairs the Coalition of Scientific Societies composed of over 30 scientific and professional societies which focuses on teaching evolution for all; and she coordinated participation of 16 of these societies in a common activity, the Evolution Thought Trail at the Expo of the 2010 Science and Engineering Festival.

Dr. Chow received her Bachelors degree in Biomedical Sciences from Escola Paulista de Medicina in São Paulo, Brazil, and the Masters Ph.D. degrees from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She held research and teaching positions at UC Irvine, UCLA, and American University (Washington, DC) before joining SDB. She was elected an AAAS Fellow December 2010.

James P. Collins
Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Natural History and the Environment, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University

Dr. Collins has been a faculty member at Arizona State University since 1975. His research group studies host-pathogen biology and its relationship to the decline of species, at times even to extinction. Dr. Collins’ research also focuses on the intellectual and institutional factors that have shaped Ecology’s development as a science as well as Ecological Ethics. Collins was founding director of ASU’s Undergraduate Biology Enrichment Program, and served as co-director of ASU’s Undergraduate Mentoring in Environmental Biology and Minority Access to Research Careers programs. He has been chairman of the Zoology, then Biology Department at ASU. At the National Science Foundation he was Director of the Population Biology and Physiological Ecology Program (1985-1986) and Assistant Director for Biological Sciences (2005-2009). Dr. Collins has a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and a B.S. from Manhattan College. He is an elected fellow of AAAS and the Association for Women in Science, and President of the American Institute of Biological Sciences.

Irene Eckstrand
Program Officer, Models of Infectious Disease
National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health

Dr. Eckstrand specializes in evolutionary biology, genetics and computational biology. As a program director at NIGMS, she manages grants that promote research in these areas and directs a program that promotes computational and mathematical research to detect, control and prevent emerging infectious diseases. The program, called MIDAS (for Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study), was founded in 2004 with the aim of improving the nation’s ability to respond to biological threats promptly and effectively. Eckstrand also manages a new consortium to develop models of the dynamics of the scientific workforce and handles NIGMS research focused on evolutionary biology, including how pathogens and hosts evolve together; speciation; and the evolution of complex biological systems.

From 1999-2004, Eckstrand directed the Bridges to the Future Program, part of the NIGMS Minority Opportunities in Research Division. The program assists minority students in making the transition to baccalaureate and doctoral programs and prepares them for careers in biomedical research. In the mid 1990s, Eckstrand directed NIH’s Office of Science Education and has worked with professional societies, including the Society for the Study of Evolution and other groups to promote effective biology and mathematics education.

Dr. Eckstrand received a Bachelors degree from Earlham College, a Masters degree from Wright State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Kristin Jenkins
Education and Outreach, National Evolutionary Synthesis Center

Kristin Jenkins works with the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) and the BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium to pursue her interests in biology education. Her experience includes teaching at the high school and college levels, professional development for K-14 faculty, curriculum development and development of outreach programs. Currently, she is part of the Education and Outreach group at NESCent, where she has participated in various working groups focused on enhancing evolution education including Evolution Across the Curriculum, Tree Thinking in Evolution Education and Communicating Human Evolution. As a member of the BioQUEST staff, she is part of the Cyberlearning for Community Colleges project and other BioQUEST projects. Dr. Jenkins is an active member of the Society for the Study of Evolution’s Education Committee, working with colleagues to provide professional development workshops and symposia to both K-12 teachers and SSE members. She is on the Editorial Board for the journal Evolution: Education and Outreach, and is the chair of the Outreach Committee for the University of Wisconsin’s J.F.Crow Institute for the Study of Evolution. She earned her BA in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of California, San Diego and her Ph.D. at the University of Arizona.

Nancy A. Moran (Member, National Academy of Sciences)
William H. Fleming Professor of Biology, Yale University

Dr. Moran is a leader in the study of the evolution of symbioses between multicellular organisms and microbes. She uses a variety of genetic, genomic, and biomolecular tools in studying symbioses, focusing on symbioses found in plant-feeding insects. This research is part of her broader interests in the evolution of biological complexity, as found in complex life histories, interactions among species, and in species-diversity of larger biological communities. She works with students and postdoctoral associates to identify the impacts of microbial symbionts on host survival and reproduction, the evolutionary origins of microbial symbionts from free-living bacteria, and genomic changes in evolving symbiont lineages. For her research on symbiosis, she received the 2010 International Prize for Biology from the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science.

She received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and her Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees in zoology from the University of Michigan.

Dr. Moran has long taught evolutionary biology for undergraduate and originated a high school biology research program at Tucson High School. She has a long record of service on NAS committees. Most relevant to her nomination to this committee is her service on the authoring committee for the 2008 NAS/IOM publication, Science, Evolution, and Creationism.

Dr. Gordon E. Uno joined the Department of Botany and Microbiology at the University of Oklahoma in 1979, was appointed a David Ross Boyd Professor of Botany in 1997, and is currently serving as the Department’s chair. Dr. Uno has authored or co-authored several textbooks including: Principles of Botany; Handbook for Developing Undergraduate Science Courses; Biological Science: an Ecological Approach (a high school biology text for which he served as editor and contributing author); and Introductory Botany Workbook. Dr. Uno was a Program Officer in the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation in 1998-2000 and serves on the editorial boards of four science and science education journals. He was awarded Honorary Membership by the National Association of Biology Teachers in 2001 and was its President in 1995. He became a Fellow of the AAAS in 2000, and he has received one national, two state, and three University-level teaching awards. He has taught nearly 10,000 undergraduates and has led many faculty development workshops for university and secondary science instructors. He has served on the Board of Directors for the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and he recently published an article on botanical literacy in the American Journal of Botany. Currently, he is Principal Investigator for the NSF-funded “Introductory Biology Project,” which focuses on the undergraduate freshman biology course; he is also co-PI on another NSF project dealing with professional development for high school teachers; and he is a member of several committees of the College Board that are revising AP science courses.


Jay Labov is Senior Advisor for Education and Communication for the National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council. He also has been the study director for the NRC reports, State Science and Technology Policy Advice: Issues, Opportunities, and Challenges (2008); Enhancing Professional Development for Teachers: Potential Uses of Information Technology (2007), Linking Mandatory Professional Development to High Quality Teaching and Learning: Proceedings and Transcripts (2006); Evaluating and Improving Undergraduate Teaching in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology (2003); Learning and Understanding: Improving Advanced Study of Mathematics and Science in U.S. High Schools (2002); Educating Teachers of Science, Mathematics, and Technology: New Practices for the New Millennium (2000); Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology (1999); Serving the Needs of Pre-College Science and Mathematics Education: Impact of a Digital National Library on Teacher Education and Practice (1999); and Developing a Digital National Library for Undergraduate Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology Education (1998). He has served Director of the Center’s Committee on Undergraduate Science Education, Deputy Director for the Center for Education, and oversees the National Academy of Science’s efforts to improve the teaching of evolution in the public schools. Prior to assuming his position at the NRC Dr. Labov was a member of the biology faculty for 18 years at Colby College (ME), where he taught courses in Introductory Biology, Topics in Neurobiology, Animal Behavior, Mammalian and Human Physiology, and Tropical Ecology. He was elected as a Fellow in Education of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2005. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami and the masters and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Rhode Island.

Cynthia Wei was a National Academies Christine Mirzayan Science & Technology Policy Fellow working at the National Academy of Sciences with Dr. Jay Labov at the time of the convocation.  Dr. Wei recently completed an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation in the Division of Undergraduate Education, where she worked on a wide range of issues in STEM education, focusing primarily on biology education and climate change education.  She has diverse teaching experiences as a K-6 general science teacher, high school biology teacher, and university instructor, and she has taught college-level courses including Introduction to Zoology, Introduction to Animal Behavior, Field Animal Behavior, and Biology & Society.  She is also an active member of the Animal Behavior Society’s Education Committee, and co-organized a recent education workshop, Vision, Change, and the Case Study Approach.  Dr. Wei received a dual-degree PhD in Zoology and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior from Michigan State University, and a BA in Neurobiology and Behavior from Cornell University. She also was a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln’s Avian Cognition Laboratory.


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