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Board of Directors
Dr. Chow is a dedicated educator who has a long-term interest in humanistic science education and social justice, and is the Executive Director of the Science Club for Girls. A molecular microbiologist by training, Connie received her Ph.D. through the program in Virology at Harvard University, and conducted her postdoctoral research on malaria gene expression at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Chow was elected as a Fellow of the Massachusetts Academy of Science.
Dr. Robert Dorit is an Associate Professor of Biology at Smith College. He received his B.A. in Human Biology at Stanford University and his Ph.D. in Organismal and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. Dr. Dorit's lab is broadly concerned with experimental, retrospective and computational approaches to molecular evolution. His group addresses resistance in antimicrobial design, which employs in vitro engineering approaches and large-scale screening to engineer antimicrobial toxins for use against enteric pathogens. He also studies in vivo experimental evolution by "re-evolving" RNase P RNA. Finally, Dr. Dorit is investigating the genetic dynamics of the seed bank in a weed species, Stellaria media. Dr. Dorit is a founder and CEO of Origin Antimicrobials LLC, a biopharmacuetical start-up company focused on generating novel antimicrobials.
Dan is the Lead Program Manager for the DOE Joint Genome Institute. He received his PhD from the University of Alberta in the area of Immunology. Dr. Drell was instrumental in creating the JGI focus on microbial genomics and metagenomics and he maintains a long-standing passion for science education and outreach. Dan is a founding member of the Academy.
Jenna Farrell served as the Executive Director of the Academy from 2009 - 2013, when she then transitioned to the Program Director of Engage in STEM (E-STEM), the Academy's after-school mentoring program. In this role, Jenna is responsible for the administration of each program aspect, as well as developing strategic partnerships for program expansion.
Jenna graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration and plans to enroll in a Master of Business Administration program in 2014.
Dr. Hamilton is Professor of Physiology and Biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine, and Biomedical Engineering. His research provides molecular insights into diseases related to fatty acid metabolism and lipid accumulation, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Hays received her doctorate from the Heller School, Brandeis University, in 1990 with a dissertation on health policy and aging. She received her MS from Boston University in 1978 and her BS in nursing from Boston College in 1974. She has a background in fine arts as well as medicine and liberal arts and has cultivated interdisciplinary connections among the arts and sciences.
Dr. Jonathan King is a Professor in the Department of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received his B.S. at Yale University in Zoology and his Ph.D. at Cal Tech in Genetics. Dr. King's research interests include virus assembly, protein folding, and misfolding and he has over 200 research publications. Dr. King is a Fellow of the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences and has served as the President of the Biophysical Society. Most recently he served as the Chair of the Massachusetts Darwin Bicentennial Committee and on the NEI Board of Scientific Counselors.
Dr. Maher earned her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where her work incorporated molecular, genetic, and biochemical strategies to understand how dopamine modulates the activity of neurons in our brain. She is dedicated to improving science literacy, promoting support for basic scientific research and fostering collaborative efforts both within the scientific community and between scientific professionals and the community. Dr. Maher has been a dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer with the Mass Academy of Sciences for the past four years and hopes to guide the Academy through continued success as a Member of the Governing Board.
Bill is a dedicated science teacher and administrator, who developed a STEM model that incorporates a curriculum that includes science, math, engineering, and history. He serves as the Vice President of the Massachusetts State Science & Engineering Fair, where he encourages and inspires middle and high school students to pursue independent research projects.
Dr. Margaret (Peg) Riley, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts Amherst. She received her B.S and M.S. at UMass Amherst and her Ph.D. at Harvard University. Her first faculty position was at Yale University, where she was granted tenure and remained for 15 years while developing an internationally renowned research program in antimicrobial drug discovery. She returned to UMass Amherst to join the faculty in 2004. Early in her academic career she received a Presidential Young Investigator’s Award for her pioneering research on antimicrobial compounds and has been continuously funded by NIH ever since. She has published over 100 articles and edited four books in her research area. In 2005 she co-founded a Massachusetts-based biopharmaceutical company, Origin Antimicrobials, LLC, involved in the design of novel antimicrobials, whose use results in reduced rates of resistance and reduced collateral damage to the healthy human microflora. In 2008 she created the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences, a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase levels of civic science literacy. She currently serves as the President of the MAS, and oversees science outreach programs that bring undergraduate science majors into the K12 classroom. In 2009, she co-founded the Institute for Drug Resistance, whose mission is to facilitate novel, multidisciplinary approaches to addressing the challenges of drug resistance and created a new Gordon Research Conference on Drug Resistance, which was launched in the summer of 2012. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and was recently elected to the Board of Life Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Sassanfar received her B.S. and M.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Cornell University. Dr. Sassanfar has extensive research experience in both academia and industry, where she spent four years working on the discovery of novel antimicrobial targets. Dr. Sassanfar's scientific interests are focused on two main areas: DNA repair and mutagenesis, and small RNAs. She is particularly interested in tRNAs that play a fundamental role in protein translation. Dr. Sassanfar's other interests are high school and college science outreach. She organizes and leads programs that focus on science teacher training, and curriculum development and oversees a summer research internship program in biology for undergraduates from other institutions at MIT.
Ms. Schelkin is Co-Founder and President of the DOME (Diversity and Outreach in Math and Engineering) Foundation. She works to enhance the exposure, awareness and understanding of the STEM fields and associated career paths for students from underrepresented populations
Dr. Slatko is a Senior Scientist in Parasitology and Head of DNA Sequencing at New England Biolabs, Inc., where he studies the evolution and biology of the Wolbachia endosymbiont. He has successfully sequenced and annotated the Wolbachia genome fromB. malayi and is now investigating the biochemical basis for the mutually-dependent nature of the endosymbiont with its host. Dr. Slatko serves on the Steering Committee of the Wolbachia Consortium, on the Eaton Publishing Advisory Board, and on the ITSI Scientific Board. In addition, he has been the reviewing editor for BioTechniques since 1986.
Jo Ann Sprague is a former Massachusetts State Representative (1993–1998) and State Senator (1999–2004) from Walpole. In the Massachusetts Senate she represented the Norfolk, Bristol, and Plymouth district, but moved in 2003 to the Bristol andNorfolk district. Previously she was a State Representative from the 9th Norfolk district. Jo Ann is a founding member of the Academy.
Bryan is a senior research scientist in protein biochemistry at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, focusing on advancing neurodegenerative drug targets. He received his PhD in Chemistry from Syracuse University. He is a dedicated STEM education ambassador and has worked with youth groups on many science education projects.
Professor Watt is the President and Trustee of the California Academy of Sciences and Professor and Director of the Center for Evolutionary Studies, Stanford University. He received his B.A. in Zoology, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in biology all at Yale University. Dr. Watt's research focuses on the development of evolutionary theory from mechanistic viewpoints. His studies employ techniques ranging from biochemistry and wind tunnel flight biophysics to field ecology and mathematical population genetics and address biochemical and physiological mechanisms of genetic variation, ecological niche structure as the source of natural-selective pressures, and the resulting patterns of evolution of metabolic organization.