Board Members

Charles W. Rice, Chair
Kansas State University


Aristos Aristidou (NAE)
Cargill, Inc.


Shane C. Burgess
University of Arizona


Susan Capalbo
Oregon State University


Gail L. Czarnecki-Maulden
Nestle Purina Pet Care


Bernadette Dunham
Milken Institute School of Public Health


Gebisa Ejeta
Purdue University


James S. Famiglietti
University of Saskatchewan


Fred Gould (NAS)
North Carolina State University


John Hamer


Douglas B. Jackson-Smith
Ohio State University


James W. Jones (NAE)
University of Florida


Ermias Kebreab
University of California, Davis


Stephen S. Kelley
North Carolina State University


Jan E. Leach
Colorado State University


Robin Lougee
IBM Research


Jill J. McCluskey
Washington State University


Karen I. Plaut
Purdue University


Ricardo Salvador
Union of Concerned Scientists


V. Alaric Sample
George Mason University


Board Member Biographies





CHARLES W. RICE is University Distinguished Professor of soil microbiology in the department of agronomy at Kansas State University. He conducts long-term research on soil organic dynamics, nitrogen transformations and microbial ecology. Recently, his research has focused on soil and global climate change including carbon and nitrogen emissions in agricultural and grassland ecosystems and soil carbon sequestration and its potential benefits to the ecosystem. Rice has also served in numerous capacities with the Soil Science Society of America. He currently serves on the National Academies U.S. National Soil Science Committee and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Air Quality Task Force. Internationally, he served on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to author the Fourth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2007, and was among the scientists recognized when that work won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Rice holds a BS degree from Northern Illinois University and a PhD from the University of Kentucky. He joined the Kansas State faculty in 1988, becoming associate professor in 1993 and professor in 1998. 






SHANE C. BURGESS is Vice President for Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences, and Cooperative Extension, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Interim Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine, and Director, Arizona Experiment Station at the University of Arizona.  In his positions of oversight, he is responsible for a budget of $150M, 3,500 students and more than 1,800 employees statewide. Dr. Burgess joined the University of Arizona in 2011, having been recruited from Mississippi State University where he was Dean and Professor of Veterinary Medicine and director of the Institute for Genomics, Biocomputing and Biotechnology.   Dr. Burgess has worked world-wide as a veterinarian, graduating with distinction as a veterinarian in 1989 from Massey University, New Zealand, and managing veterinary clinical practices in Australia (co-founding Perth’s first emergency veterinary clinic) and the UK, including horses, farm animals, pets, wild and zoo animals and aquaculture facilities in Scotland. During the 2001 Foot and Mouth Disease crisis, Dr. Burgess led the diagnosis reporting office in the UK World Reference Laboratory for Exotic Diseases. Between 1995 and 1998, while working full time outside of the academy, Dr. Burgess obtained a Ph.D. from Bristol University Medical School, UK, and continued to conduct research in cancer, virology, proteomics, immunology and bioinformatics. He has 186 refereed publications, trained 37 graduate students and has received nearly $55M in competitive funding since 1997. Dr. Burgess has held a number of leadership positions in Mississippi, served on a USDA NRSP8: National Animal Genome Research Program as a Bioinformatics Committee Member, was one of the two US (and the non-federal) Inaugural Co-chairs for the Working Group on Animal Biotechnology within the US-EC Task Force on Biotechnology, and was a National Executive Committee member for the Food Systems Leadership Institute. He currently serves on the Agri-Business and Water Council of Arizona Executive Committee; the Board of Directors for Arizona Farm Bureau; and the Governor’s Agricultural Best Management Practices Committee for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, among other positions.


ARISTOS ARISTIDOU (National Academy of Engineering) is Director of Cargill’s Biotechnology Research & Development Center, a global organization that develops new products and improves processes for the food, feed, and industrial segments of Cargill. Dr. Aristidou is an entrepreneurial leader with more than 20 years of international technical and operational leadership experience in the area of bioprocess and biocatalyst development with expertise in leading teams of multi-disciplinary scientists involved in the development, scale-up and technology transfer of commercial processes. He was one of the founding members of two of the world’s leading bio-based product companies, NatureWorks and Gevo, which make bio-based alternatives to petroleum-based feedstocks. He holds a B.S. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering, both from Rice University, in Texas.


SUSAN M. CAPALBO is Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Professor in the Department of Applied Economics at Oregon State University.  She recently stepped down from the Department Head, a position she held since 2008. Dr. Capalbo has been actively involved in the economics of climate change, agricultural-environmental tradeoffs, and policy analysis and assessment for the past 20 years. She integrates science and economics in addressing issues of sustainable agricultural policies in both developed and developing countries. Past positions included Professor at Montana State University, Fellow at Resources for the Future, and visiting appointments at Columbia University, University of California-Davis, and University of Maryland. Dr. Capalbo received her PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of California-Davis. 


GAIL L. CZARNECKI-MAULDEN is a senior research nutritionist at Nestle Purina PetCare PTC, where she is responsible for development of innovative nutritional concepts for implementation in pet food products. Prior to joining Nestle Purina, she spent six years as an assistant, and then associate, professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois, where she helped develop the graduate program in Companion Animal Nutrition. She helped set nutrient standards for dog and cat foods in the United States by serving on the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ Canine and Feline Nutrition Experts Subcommittee. She has been a dog trainer for the past 25 years and recently became a Certified Training Partner at the Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior, an educational institution that teaches positive-reinforcement animal training through innovative programs. She served on the NRC Committee on Examining the Safety of Dietary Supplements for Horses, Dogs, and Cats. Dr. Czarnecki-Maulden received her BS in animal science from Cornell University and her MS and PhD in animal nutrition from the University of Illinois.


BERNADETTE DUNHAM is currently serving as a Professorial Lecturer at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, where her focus is on One Health issues. Dr. Dunham served as the Director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) from 2008-2016. As Center Director, she oversaw the regulation of the manufacture and distribution of drugs, medical devices and food additives that are given to animals. These include animals from which human foods are derived, as well as pet (or companion) animals and minor species, which include animals other than cattle, swine, chickens, turkeys, horses, dogs, and cats. Dr. Dunham was responsible for assuring that animal drugs and medicated feeds are safe and effective and that food from treated animals is safe to eat. Dr. Dunham holds Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph and a Ph.D. in cardiovascular physiology from Boston University.


GEBISA EJETA is Distinguished Professor of Plant Breeding & Genetics and International Agriculture at Purdue University, and serves as Executive Director of the Purdue Center for Global Food Security. His research is focused on the genetic improvement of sorghum for resistance to pests, diseases, and environmental stress with enhanced productivity and nutritional quality. Professor Ejeta has had the honor of serving at the highest level of science and policy advisory for several U.S. government and global multilateral agencies, including as Special Advisor to the USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah, as Science Envoy of the U.S. State Department, and as a member of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s Scientific Advisory Board. He currently serves on the boards of the Global Crop Diversity Trust, the Chicago Council for Global Affairs’ Global Food and Agriculture Program, the International Water Management Institute, and on the U.S. Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD). A 2009 World Food Prize Laureate and recipient of a national medal of honor from the President of Ethiopia, Professor Ejeta is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, Fellow of the Crop Science Society of America, and Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences.


JAY FAMIGLIETTI is a hydrologist, a professor and the Director of the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan, where he holds the Canada 150 Research Chair in Hydrology and Remote Sensing, Before moving to Saskatchewan, he served as the Senior Water Scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology.  From 2013 through 2018, he was appointed  by Governor Jerry Brown to the California State Water Boards. From 2001 to 2016, Jay was a professor of Earth System Science and of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Irvine, where he was the Founding Director of the UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling. Before joining UCI in 2001, he was on the faculty of the Geological Sciences Department at the University of Texas at Austin, where he helped launch the program in climate and the UT Environmental Science Institute. Jay and his team have been researching and communicating about water and climate change — in academics, in business, in government and to the general public — for over 30 years.   He appeared as a featured expert in Participant Media’s water documentary “Last Call at the Oasis”, on CBS News 60 Minutes, and on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.  Jay is a frequent speaker and he is an avid writer for the general public.  His research and commentary are often featured in the international news media, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian and The Economist,  and in network, cable and public television news.  Jay is a regular guest on National Public Radio, BBC Radio and other public radio shows.


FRED GOULD (National Academy of Sciences) is the William Neal Reynolds Professor of entomology at North Carolina State University (NCSU). He studies the ecology and genetics of insect pests to improve food production and human and environmental health. One of his research projects involves genetically modified mosquitoes that have a reduced capacity to carry and spread dengue fever. Gould received the Alexander von Humboldt Award in 2004, which is presented annually to the person judged to have made the most significant contribution to American agriculture during the previous five years. In 2007, he won the George Bugliarello Prize from Sigma Xi for his article on genetic manipulation of pests for control of human disease vectors. He became an NAS member in 2011 and also received the NCSU Holladay Medal for faculty achievement that year. He recently was the recipient of the NCSU Borlaug Service to Society and Environment Award, given in honor of Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, Nobel Laureate and father of the Green Revolution. He holds a BS from Queens College of the City University of New York and a PhD from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.


JOHN HAMER Hamer is a Managing Partner at DCVC Bio. Prior to joining DCVC, John was a VP at Monsanto and Managing Director of Monsanto Growth Ventures (MGV). Before joining MGV, John was a Managing Director at Burrill & Company. Prior to his career in venture capital, Dr. Hamer was an entrepreneur, initially at Paradigm Genetics, where he joined as a visiting scientist before becoming Chief Science Officer and eventually President and CEO following the company’s IPO. After Paradigm, he founded and served as CEO of Arête Therapeutics, which earned backing from leading life science venture firms. Dr. Hamer started his career in academia, rising to the rank of Full Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Purdue University, where he earned the David and Lucille Packard Fellow award in 1989. John received a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. from the University of Windsor and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of California, Davis.


DOUGLAS B. JACKSON-SMITH is a Professor and Assistant Director of the School of Environment and Natural Resources at the Ohio State University. Prior to joining OSU as part of the Discovery Themes Initiative in August 2016, he was Co-Director of the Program on Agricultural Technology Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, then spent 15 years as a faculty member at Utah State University. Trained as a rural sociologist, his research has explored the dynamics of technological and structural change in the dairy, livestock, and wheat sectors. Dr. Jackson-Smith’s research integrates social science theory and mixed methods into interdisciplinary studies of food and agricultural issues, and has published extensively on the drivers and consequences of technological and economic change in the agrifood system. He has also worked extensively on human dimensions of nonpoint water pollution problems, and most recently co-led an NSF funded project exploring the coupled human-natural system dynamics of water systems in the Intermountain West. He served on two National Academies committees that issued the 2010 report on Sustainable Agricultural Systems for the 21st Century and the 2015 Framework to Assess the Health, Environmental and Social Effects of the U.S. Food System. He has helped lead several major USDA, NSF, and DOE inter-disciplinary science grants worth over $25 million with a focus on both rural/agricultural and urban landscapes. He received a BS in Rural Sociology from Cornell University, and an MA in Agricultural Economics and an MS and PhD in Sociology, all from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


JAMES W. JONES (National Academy of Engineering) is a Distinguished Professor in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He has built a remarkable career based on using computer simulation to integrate scientific knowledge for use in agricultural decision-making and policy analyses. He specializes in agricultural production systems analysis, simulation, crop and soil modeling, climate effects on crop growth and yield, and computer applications in agriculture. He is also director of the Florida Climate Institute, a multi-university network that brings together excellence in science across different disciplines to achieve better understanding of climate change, climate variability, and sea level rise and to develop technologies and information to inform societal responses. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2012 and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Other awards and honors include: John Deere Gold Medal Award; Malone International Award; Fellow, Soil Science Society of America; and Kashida International Award. He holds a BS from Texas Tech University in Agricultural Engineering, an MS from Mississippi State University in Agricultural and Biological Engineering, and a PhD from North Carolina State University in Biological and Agricultural Engineering.


ERMIAS KEBREAB is Professor and Sesnon Endowed Chair, Department of Animal Science; Associate Dean of Global Engagement, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; and Director, World Food Center at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Kebreab’s research interests include whole system approach to quantifying greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture; development of energy and nutrient utilization/requirement models in cattle, swine and poultry; and sustainable agriculture, in particular animal production in relation to environmental sustainability. Dr. Kebreab has served on two National Academies committees, including the Nutrient Requirements of Dairy committee (in progress) and Improving Characterization of Anthropogenic Methane Emission in the U.S. He holds a B.S. degree from the University of Asmara, Eritrea and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Reading, U.K.


STEPHEN S. KELLEY is the Reuben B Robertson Professor in the Department of Forest Biomaterials at North Carolina State University (NCSU). His research interests include the sustainable production of energy and materials from woody biomass, and the application of novel analytical tools to biomass. He teaches classes in Wood Chemistry, Wood Adhesives and Composites, and Sustainable Building Materials. In addition to his research and teaching, he has also helped develop international partnerships for the Department. Prior to joining NCSU, he spent 13 years at the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) working on biomass conversion technologies. At NREL his responsibilities included technical leadership and innovation in the areas of biomass characterization, production of value-added biobased products and thermal conversion processes, and project management. He left NREL as a Principal Scientist. Prior to joining NREL, he worked in industry (Eastman Chemical Co. and Bend Research, Inc.) for six years developing new cellulose-based materials and membrane processes. He holds a BS in Forest Products from Oregon State University, an MS in Forestry (Wood Chemistry) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his PhD in Chemistry (Polymer Chemistry) from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.


JAN E. LEACH is the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Agriculture, University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University and an Adjunct Scientist at the International Rice Research Institute (Philippines). She is an authority on the molecular biology of plant–pathogen interactions.  Her research focuses on understanding the molecular basis of durable disease resistance, particularly in rice-pathogen interactions. Other projects currently underway in her laboratory are related to understanding the impacts of increasing temperatures associated with a changing climate on plant disease and resistance,  microbiome-insect-plant interactions,  the development of novel tools for detection and monitoring of microbes associated with plants, and  bioenergy (genetics of biomass production). She is a Fellow and past President of the American Phytopathological Society (APS). She is past chair of the APS Public Policy Board and led the initiation of the Phytobiomes Initiative.  Dr. Leach is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).  She served as Chair of the AAAS Section O (Agriculture, Food, and Renewable Resources) in 2007, and as a member of the Section O Steering Committee. Dr. Leach is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and serves on the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity. Prior to her appointment at CSU, Dr. Leach was named a University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University in 1998. She served as President of the International Society of Molecular Plant–Microbe Interactions and has served on or chaired advisory committees for a number of national and international projects, programs and institutions, including the U.S. Rice Genome Sequencing Project, the Research Core for Interdisciplinary Science (RCIS) at Okayama University (Japan), Rural Development Agency (Korea).  Dr. Leach was the chair of the National Academies study on California Agricultural Research Priorities: Pierce’s Disease. She has served on numerous editorial boards, and was Editor in Chief of the APS journal Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. Leach earned her B.S. and M.S. in Microbiology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and her Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was a postdoctoral fellow at East Malling Research Station in Kent, England.


ROBIN LOUGEE is the IBM Research Lead for Consumer Products & Agriculture and a member of the IBM Industry Academy. She is the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) Platform for Big Data in Agriculture and the founding chair of the Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics Prize awarded by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS) Analytics Society. Dr. Lougee serves on the Advisory Council for the Food Science Department at Cornell University and the Advisory Committee for the World AgriTech Innovation Summit. She is an industrial research scientist with a strong track record of delivering innovation to IBM and its customers. Dr. Lougee pioneered the creation of Computational Infrastructure for Operations Research (COIN-OR), an open-source foundry for computational operations research, and led its growth to an independent nonprofit that has served the scientific and business community for more than 15 years. She was elected to the Board of INFORMS, the largest society in the world for professionals in the field of operations research, management science and analytics, Chair of the INFORMS Computing Society, and President of the Fora of Women in Operations Research and the Management Sciences (ORMS). Dr. Lougee is a past Associate Editor of Surveys in Operations Research. She earned a Ph.D. in Mathematical Sciences from Clemson University in 1993. Dr. Lougee served as a member of the National Academies’ Science Breathroughs study.


JILL J. MCCLUSKEY is the Distinguished Professor of Sustainability in the School of Economic Sciences (SES) at Washington State University.  Dr. McCluskey previously served as a visiting professor at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management while on sabbatical at Cornell University.  She received her Ph.D. in 1998 from the University of California, Berkeley with fields in economic theory, industrial organization, and environmental and resource economics.  Her research focuses on product quality and reputation, economics of sustainable labeling, consumer preferences for new technology, including sustainable energy, and how university policies affect women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. She has published more than 100 journal articles, many of which are highly cited.  Her research has been funded by private foundations, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  She is a frequent collaborator across disciplines and has served on editorial boards and as guest editor for several academic journals.  Her graduate students have won national best thesis and best dissertation awards and she received a WSU college-wide faculty research award.  She was President of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) from 2015-2016 and has served in other leadership positions in the AAEA, other professional associations, and is the current chair of her USDA multi-state research project, S1067.  She established university-industry alliances with data sharing agreements with a national grocery store chain and a regional quick service restaurant chain.


KAREN I. PLAUT is Interim Dean for the College of Agriculture at Purdue University, a position she assumed on July 1, 2017.  Dr. Plaut earned her BS from the University of Vermont, MS from Pennsylvania State University and PhD in animal science from Cornell University, followed by two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health.  She joined the faculty at the University of Vermont, where she had appointments in both the Department of Animal Science and the Department of Pathology in the College of Medicine, and in 2000 became the first woman in the US to chair a department of animal sciences.  In addition to her faculty appointments, she served for two years as lead scientist for NASA’s International Space Station Biological Research project.  Dr. Plaut went on to serve for five years as Chair of the Department of Animal Science at Michigan State University, where she led scientists working in biochemistry, genetics and genomics, nutrition, reproduction and animal welfare, spanning basic to applied sciences.  Dr. Plaut joined the Purdue University College of Agriculture in 2010 as Associate Dean and Director of the Ag Experiment Station.  In this role, she oversees research in the College’s 11 academic departments and works closely with colleagues in the Colleges of Engineering, Science, and the Purdue Poytechnic Institute.  In her role as Director, she also invests in Colleges of Health and Human Sciences and Veterinary Medicine.  She has led the development and implementation of the Institute for Plant Sciences, a $28 million dollar initiative that includes hiring ten plant scientists; construction of the first field phenotyping facility in North America; and the launch of the $2 million Ag-celerator fund to enhance innovation and commercialization.  Dr. Plaut has also been responsible for multi-college cluster faculty hires and has worked to expand industry partnerships.  She was recently named a “Transformation Network Leader” for the New Vision for Agriculture by the World Economic Forum.  As a researcher, Dr. Plaut has authored  approximately 60 peer-reviewed scientific publications, has received a total of $10.5 million in research grants, including competitive funding from USDA, NIH, NSF, and NASA, and has served on review committees for these agencies, most recently serving on NSF Committee of Visitors for Integrated Organismal Systems.


RICARDO SALVADOR is Senior Scientist and Director of the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, in which he works with citizens, scientists, economists, and politicians to transition our current food system into one that grows healthy foods while employing sustainable and socially equitable practices. Before coming to UCS, Dr. Salvador served as a program officer for food, health, and well-being with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In this capacity, he was responsible for conceptualizing and managing the Foundation’s food systems programming. He partnered with colleagues to create programs that addressed the connections between food and health, environment, economic development, sovereignty, and social justice. Prior to that, he was an associate professor of agronomy at Iowa State University. While at ISU, Dr. Salvador taught the first course in sustainable agriculture at a land-grant university, and his graduate students conducted some of the original academic research on community-supported agriculture. He also worked with students to establish ISU's student-operated organic farm, and with other faculty to develop the nation’s first sustainable agriculture graduate program in 2000; Dr. Salvador served as the program’s first chair. Dr. Salvador earned a B.S. in agricultural science from New Mexico State University. He holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in crop production and physiology from Iowa State University.


V. ALARIC (AL) SAMPLE is Adjunct Professor of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, as well as President Emeritus and Senior Fellow at the Pinchot Institute for Conservation in Washington, DC, where he served as President and CEO from 1995 to 2015. His current research is focused on the integration of climate change mitigation, adaptation, and resilience into the evolving institutional, legal, and policy framework for natural resource management. His professional experience spans the public, private and nonprofit sectors and includes assignments with the U.S. Forest Service, Champion International, The Wilderness Society, and the Prince of Thurn und Taxis in Bavaria, Germany. He specialized in resource economics and natural resource policy as a Senior Fellow at the World Wildlife Fund in Washington, DC, as Vice President for Research at the American Forestry Association, and as a Research Affiliate on the faculty of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (FES). Dr. Sample has served on numerous national task forces and commissions, including the President’s Commission on Environmental Quality task force on biodiversity on private lands, and the National Commission on Science for Sustainable Forestry. He received a B.S. degree in forest management from the University of Montana and a Ph.D. in natural resources policy and economics from Yale University.