Dr. Mark Brzezinski
Acting Director of the Marine Science Institute and Professor of Biology (Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology) at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is an expert in algal physiology and ecology, particularly in diatoms. A major focus of Brzezinski’s research is to assess the role of silicon as a limiting resource for diatom growth in the sea and the role of diatoms in controlling the silica cycle. He is the developer of numerous advanced analytical approaches to the study of diatoms and is leading a research effort to develop next generation open bioreactors. His research interests include phytoplankton ecology and physiology, phytoplankton cell cycles and elemental cycling in surface ocean. Ph.D. Biological Oceanography, Oregon State University and B.S. Biology/Marine Science, Southampton College- Long Island University.


Dr. Dave Caron
Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Southern California. Marine and freshwater microbial ecology, with emphasis on the trophic relationships between protists (microalgae and protozoa) and other planktonic and benthic microorganisms. Recent research programs have focused on the distribution, feeding ecology, respiration and nutrient regeneration of bacterivorous and herbivorous protozoa, the ecology of harmful algae, the physiology of Antarctic protists, feeding and growth of phagotrophic (mixotrophic) microalgae, and the development of molecular biological approaches for studying the ecology of free-living microorganisms. Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and past President of the International Society of Protistology. Ph.D. in Biological Oceanography, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, B.S. and M.S. in Oceanography, University of Rhode Island.


Dr. Dennis Hedgecock
Paxson H. Offield Professor of Fisheries Ecology in the Depatment of Biologcal Sciences at the University of Southern California. Formerly he had a nearly 30-year career at UC Davis. Hedgecock has published over 110 scholarly articles on the population, quantitative, evolutionary and conservation genetics of marine fish and shellfish, primarily Pacific oysters, white seabass and Pacific salmon. He was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Ken Chew Endowed Visiting Professorship in Aquaculture at the University of Washington in 2007. Hedgecock was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1986, and is currently a member of several other scientific societies, including the American Genetics Association, the Genetics Society of America, the National Shellfisheries Association, and the Society for the Study of Evolution. He serves on the editorial boards of Aquaculture and the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. B.S. in Biology from St. Mary’s College, California, in 1970, and a Ph.D. in Genetics, from the University of California, Davis, in 1974.


Dr. David Karl
Professor of Oceanography at the University of Hawaii. Dr. Karl is a leader in the study of microbial ecology and ocean biogeochemistry. Karl has focused his research on the ecological role of microorganisms in the sea, ranging from the sunlit surface waters to the deep abyss and the tropics to Anarctica, and has enjoyed successful and groundbreaking research discoveries along the way. He was the co-leader of the Hawaii Ocean Time-Series, one of the longest running and most successful biogeochemistry time-series studies ever conducted. He is a Moore Fellow and one of the leaders in the application of novel molecular approaches to understanding microbial biodiversity and ecosystem function. Karl has received numerous honors including membership in the National Academy of Science (2006), Fellow of the American Association of Microbiology (2006), a White House Presidential Young Investigator Award (1984), and the G.E. Hutchinson (1998), A.G. Huntsman (2001) and H.B. Bigelow (2004) medals for his scientific contributions. He received a bachelor’s degree in biology from the State University College at Buffalo, New York, in 1971, a master’s degree in biological oceanography from Florida State University in 1974, and a doctorate in oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, in 1978.


Dr. Kenneth Nealson
Director of the Microbial and Environmental Genomics Research Group at the J. Craig Venter Institute, San Diego and Wrigley Professor of Geobiology at the University of Southern California. Nealson pioneered the field of modern geobiology – an area of science that tackles the still largely unexplored domain where the processes and chemistry of life intersect with the planet’s mineral and metal chemistry. Nealson discovered quorum sensing and, as one of the first to recognize the importance of microorganisms in catalyzing redox reactions in the environment, he has led the development of tools to study these organisms. Nealson’s techniques, used to study microbial populations through genetic identification, are now considered standard in analyzing microbes found in biofilms. He is the principle investigator of many large research grants and operates active research labs at both the University of Southern California and the J. Craig Venter Institute. Ph.D. in Microbiology, University of Chicago, B.S. Biochemistry, University of Chicago.


Dr. Maria Pellegrini
Executive Director for Programs at the W.M. Keck Foundation in Los Angeles. Formerly Vice President for Research at Brandeis University and before that the Program Director for Science and Engineering and the Liberal Arts at the Keck Foundation. Before joining the Keck Foundation Dr. Pellegrini spent 20 years on the faculty of the University of Southern California as Professor of Biology. During that time, she served as department chair for five years, and as Dean of Research in the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. She was a fellow of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the recipient of the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation Teacher Scholar Award. Dr. Pellegrini received her A.B. in Chemistry from Connecticut College, and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Columbia University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Caltech. Dr. Pellegrini currently serves on the Boards of the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy and the USC-Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies.


Dr. Wei-Min Shen
Director of Polymorphic Robotics Laboratory, the Associate Director of the Center for Robotics and Embedded Systems, both at the the Information Science Institute, and a Research Associate Professor in Computer Science at the University of Southern California. He received his Ph.D. under Nobel Laureate Professor Herbert A. Simon from Carnegie Mellon University in 1989. Dr. Shen’s current research interests include self-reconfigurable and metamorphic systems, autonomous robots, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Life Science. He has over 100 publications in these areas. He is the recipient of a Silver-Medal Award in 1996 AAAI Robotics Competition, a World Championship Award in 1997 Middle-sized RoboCup Competition, a Meritorious Service Award at ISI in 1997, and a Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Recognition Award at USC in 2003. He is the author of “Autonomous Learning from Environment” (W.H.Freeman), a book on how machines learn from their environment based on “surprises”. He is the inventor of SuperBot, a co-inventor of CONRO, and the inventor of hormone-inspired distributed and decentralized control for self-reconfigurable systems (US Patent #006636781). B.S. Jiao-Tong University, Beijing (1982) graduate study at Institute of Automation, Academy of Sciences, China, M.S and Ph.D. from Carnegie-Mellon University, (1986, 1989).


Dr. David Siegel
Director of the Institute for Computational Earth System Science and a Professor in the Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara. His research focuses on the coupling of physical, biological, optical and biogeochemical processes on micro to ocean basin scales. Specifically, ocean color remote sensing and optical oceanography, mesoscale eddy & coastal processes, numerical modeling, Lagrangian approaches to understanding mixing and its implications, quantification of subgrid scale processes, human-natural system coupling, role of radiative exchanges in air-sea interactions and data information systems. Several of Dr. Siegel’s currently funded research projects include the global analyses of ocean color using satellite imagery, the modeling of coastal fisheries and the long-term study of coastal ecosystems. Ph.D. Geological Sciences (Ocean Physics) and M.S. Geological Sciences, University of Southern California, B.S. Engineering Sciences and B.A. Chemistry, University of California, San Diego.


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