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Committee Membership Information




Project Title: Future Biotechnology Products and Opportunities to Enhance Capabilities of the Biotechnology Regulatory System

PIN: DELS-BLS-15-16        

Major Unit:
Division on Earth and Life Studies

Sub Unit: Board on Life Sciences
Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology
Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources

RSO:

Laney, Kara N.

Subject/Focus Area:  Agriculture; Biology and Life Sciences; Chemistry; Energy and Energy Conservation; Environment and Environmental Studies; Food and Nutrition; Math, Chemistry and Physics; Policy for Science and Technology


Committee Membership
Date Posted:   03/17/2016


Dr. Richard M. Murray - (Chair)
California Institute of Technology

Dr. Richard Murray is Thomas E. and Doris Everhart Professor of Control and Dynamical Systems and Bioengineering at California Institute of Technology. He received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from California Institute of Technology in 1985 and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1988 and 1991, respectively. Professor Murray's research is in the application of feedback and control to mechanical, information, and biological systems. Current projects include integration of control, communications, and computer science in multi-agent systems, information dynamics in networked feedback systems, analysis of insect flight control systems, and biological circuit design. Professor Murray has recently developed a new course at Caltech that is aimed at teaching the principles and tools of control to a broader audience of scientists and engineers, with particular emphasis on applications in biology and computer science. Dr. Murray is co-founder and board member of Synvitrobio, a start-up biotechnology company focused on commercialization of cell-free synthesis methods.

Dr. Richard M. Amasino
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Richard M. Amasino is a professor with the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His work focuses on how plants perceive seasonal cues such as changing day-length and temperature and how they use such cues to determine when to initiate flowering. His most recent focus has been on understanding the biochemical pathway through which perception of winter cold leads to flowering in the spring–a process known as vernalization. Dr. Amasino is also a member of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center, which is one of the three bioenergy research centers established by the U.S. Department of Energy. His work with the center involves studying the biochemical basis of plant biomass accumulation as well as directing the education and outreach program of the center. Dr. Amasino is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) professor, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His teaching and research have resulted in several national and international awards, including the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Award in 1999. He has served both as president and chair of the board of trustees of the American Society of Plant Biologists. Dr. Amasino received his BS in biology from Pennsylvania State University and his MS and PhD in biology/biochemistry from Indiana University.

Dr. Steven P. Bradbury
Iowa State University

In August of 2015, Dr. Bradbury was appointed as a professor of environmental toxicology in the Departments of Natural Resource Ecology and Management and Entomology. He is also a faculty member in Iowa State University's Toxicology Program. From July 2014 through July 2015, Dr. Bradbury served as a visiting professor in the Department of Entomology. Dr. Bradbury is contributing to research, teaching and extension in university-wide toxicology, environmental, agriculture and natural resource science and policy programs. Areas of emphasis include pesticide resistance management; pollination services and monarch butterfly conservation; and sustainable agriculture, including the role of integrated pest management within nested layers of governance. Dr. Bradbury retired from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2014. During his last 4 years at EPA he was the Director of the Office of Pesticide Programs. In this role he led evaluation of new and existing pesticides, including biotechnology products; integration of federal pesticide registration decisions within related national, state and stakeholder-initiated programs; and addressed management options for emerging, high impact pests, pesticide resistance, and water quality, endangered species and pollinator protection. Prior to joining OPP in 2002, Dr. Bradbury had over 15 years of experience in EPA’s Office of Research and Development leading efforts to advance human health and ecological risk assessments in support of water quality, pesticide and industrial chemical programs. Dr. Bradbury has a BS in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a MS in Entomology (Insecticide Toxicology) and a PhD in Toxicology and Entomology from Iowa State University. He has published over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and has an extensive record of invited presentations at international and national scientific conferences. In 2014, Dr. Bradbury received the Henry A. Wallace Award for Outstanding Leadership to National and International Agriculture from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Iowa State University.

Dr. Steven L. Evans
Dow AgroSciences

Dr. Steve Evans is currently a Fellow at Dow AgroSciences in Seeds Discovery R&D. He received his B.A. and B.S. degrees in chemistry and microbiology from the University of Mississippi and a Ph.D. in microbial physiology from the University of Mississippi Medical School. He was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, and subsequently with the U.S.D.A. in Peoria, Illinois. In 1988 he joined Mycogen Corp., now Dow AgroSciences, where he has been involved in the development of natural and recombinant biopesticides, including several crop traits from the Mycogen pipeline. At the U.S.D.A. and subsequently in industry roles, Evans blends high-resolution chemical analysis with enzymology to research agricultural applications of biotechnology. Evans continues to identify and acquire differentiating biotechnology capabilities. Evans is chair emeritus of the Industrial Advisory Board of the SynBERC synthetic biology consortium and co-chair of the BIO Organization IES synthetic biology sub team.

Dr. Barbara J. Evans
University of Houston

Dr. Barbara Evans joined the University of Houston Law Center in 2007. She is George Butler Research Professor and Director of the Center for Biotechnology and Law at UHLC and is an affiliated member of the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine. She was named a Greenwall Foundation Faculty Scholar in Bioethics for the period 2010-2014 and conducts an active research agenda including projects funded by the National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration. Her research interests include governance, privacy, and financing issues with large health information networks and tissue repositories; regulatory and judicial uses of evidence from large-scale observational studies; and legal barriers to clinical translation of pharmacogenomics. Earlier in her career, she was a partner in the international regulatory practice of a large New York law firm and subsequently advised clients on U.S. privacy, research, and medical device regulatory matters. Prior to joining the University of Houston Law Center, she was a Research Professor of Medicine and Director of the Program in Pharmacogenomics, Ethics, and Public Policy at the Indiana University School of Medicine/Center for Bioethics. She holds an electrical engineering degree from the University of Texas at Austin; M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University; a J.D. from Yale Law School; and she completed a post-doctoral Fellowship in Clinical Ethics at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.


Dr. Farren Isaacs
Yale University

Dr. Isaacs is an Assistant Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale University. He received a B.S.E. degree in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania and obtained his PhD from the Biomedical Engineering Department and Bioinformatics Program at Boston University. In his PhD he integrated theory and experiment to study gene regulatory network dynamics and then pioneered the design and development of synthetic RNA components capable of probing and programming cellular function. He then was a research fellow in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School working on genome engineering technologies with George Church. At Harvard, he developed enabling technologies for genome engineering, including MAGE (Multiple Automated Genome Engineering) and CAGE (Conjugative Assembly Genome Engineering). His research is focused on developing foundational genomic and biomolecular engineering technologies with the goal of developing new genetic codes, and engineered cells that serve as factories for chemical, drug and biofuel production. He has recently been named a “rising young star of science” by Genome Technology Magazine, a Beckman Young Investigator by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, and recipient of a Young Professor award from DuPont. Dr. Isaacs is also co-founder and CTA of enEvolv, a start-up biotechnology firm aimed at commercializing the MAGE technology he co-invented.

Dr. Martha A. Krebs
Pennsylvania State University

Martha Krebs is senior scientist in Pennsylvania State University’s College of Engineering and principal investigator and director of the Consortium for Building Energy Innovation at The Navy Yard in Philadelphia. In her most recent previous position, Krebs worked with University of California, Davis faculty and staff to leverage and expand research programs through federal, state and private partnerships. In that role she also has served as science advisor for the California Energy Commission. Before joining UC Davis, she was the Commission’s deputy executive director for research and development (R&D). From 1993 to 2000, Krebs served as assistant secretary and director of the Office of Science at the Department of Energy, responsible for the basic research program that supports the department’s energy, environmental and national security missions. She also advised the Secretary of Energy on the department’s R&D portfolio and the institutional health of its National Laboratories. From 1983 to 1993, Krebs served as an associate director for Planning and Development at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where she was responsible for strategic planning for research and facilities, technology transfer, and science education and outreach. From 1977 to 1983, she served on the House Committee on Science first as a professional staff member and then as subcommittee staff director, responsible for authorizing the department’s non-nuclear energy technologies and energy science programs. Krebs received her bachelor’s degree and doctorate in physics from the Catholic University of America. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association of Women in Science.

Dr. Jennifer Kuzma
North Carolina State University

Jennifer Kuzma is the Goodnight-NCGSK Foundation Distinguished Professor in Social Sciences and co-director of the Genetic Engineering and Society Center at NC State University. Prior to this position she was a faculty member in science and technology policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota (2003-2013); study director at the National Academies of Science in Washington DC for genetic engineering and bioterrorism (1999-2003); and a AAAS Risk Policy Fellow at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (1997-1999). She has over 100 scholarly publications on emerging technologies and governance; and has been studying genetic engineering and its societal aspects for over 25 years. She discovered that bacteria product isoprene, a precursor to natural rubber, during from her Ph.D. work in biochemistry, and her postdoctoral work in plant molecular biology resulted in a publication in the journal Science. She has held several leadership positions, including the Society for Risk Analysis Council & Secretary, Chair of the Gordon Conference on S&T Policy, the FDA Blood Products Advisory Committee, and the UN WHO-FAO Expert Group for Nanotechnologies in Food and Agriculture. In 2014, she received the Society for Risk Analysis Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer Award for recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field of risk analysis. She has been called upon in national media for her expertise on genetic engineering policy issues, including recently in the Washington Post, Scientific American, New York Times, 2015 World’s Fair exhibit, Nature, and National Public Radio.

Dr. Mary E. Maxon
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Dr. Mary Maxon is the Biosciences Area Principal Deputy at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory where she is responsible for developing strategies for the use of biosciences to address national-scale challenges in energy and environment. Previously, she was Assistant Director for Biological Research at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in the Executive Office of the President where she developed the National Bioeconomy Blueprint. Before moving to OSTP, Dr. Maxon ran the Marine Microbiology Initiative at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which supports the application of molecular approaches and comprehensive models to detect and validate environmentally-induced changes in marine microbial ecosystems. Prior to that, Dr. Maxon served as Deputy Vice Chair at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, where she drafted the intellectual property policies for California stem cell grantees in the non-profit and for-profit research sectors. Previously, she was Associate Director and Anti-infective Program Leader for Cytokinetics, a biotechnology company in South San Francisco and team leader at Microbia, Inc., based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she contributed to the discovery and development of the Precision Engineering technology for production of commercial products using metabolic engineering. Dr. Maxon received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in Molecular Cell Biology, and did postdoctoral research in biochemistry and genetics at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Raul F. Medina
Texas A&M University-College Station

Dr. Raul F. Medina’s research interests center around the role that ecological factors play in the population genetics of arthropods. Dr. Medina is particularly interested in the incorporation of evolutionary ecology considerations into pest control practices. His laboratory is currently assessing how species interactions at macroscopic (e.g., host-parasite associations) and microscopic (e.g., arthropod microbiomes) levels may affect genetic variation of agricultural pests and arthropod vectors of human disease. Dr. Medina is currently exploring if the same principles governing insect herbivores’ adaptation to their hosts translate in arthropod parasites of animals. Dr. Medina completed his Bachelor in Biology in Lima, Peru at the Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina. He then obtained a Graduate Certificate in conservation biology from the University of Missouri in Saint Louis. He received his Master and PhD from the University of Maryland working on predation of forest caterpillars and on hymenopteran parasitoid population genetics respectively. Soon after his PhD Dr. Medina started working at Texas A&M where he is currently an Associate Professor.

Mr. David Rejeski
Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Mr. Rejeski directs the Science and Technology Innovation Program (STIP) at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a non-partisan policy research institute in Washington DC. STIP focuses on emerging technologies and the critical choices innovation presents to public policy. Work includes synthetic biology (http://www.synbioproject.org), nanotechnology (http://www.nanotechproject.org), citizen science (http://wilsoncommonslab.org/), additive manufacturing, converging technologies, and the application of computer games to public policy challenges. He is presently a Guest Researcher at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria, a Visiting Scholar at the Environmental Law Institute, and was a Visiting Fellow at Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Between 1994 and 2000, he worked at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on a variety of technology, R&D, and policy initiatives, including the development and implementation of the National Environmental Technology Strategy, the Greening of the White House, and the Education for Sustainability Initiative. Before moving to OSTP, he was head of the Future Studies Unit at the Environmental Protection Agency. He spent four years in Hamburg, Germany working for the Environmental Agency, Department of Public Health, and Department of Urban Renewal and, in the late 1970’s, founded and co-directed a non-profit involved in energy conservation and renewable energy technologies. He sits on the advisory boards of a number of organizations, including the UK Open Plant Project, the NSF-funded Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC), DARPA’s ‘Living Foundries’ Program, the Center for Environmental Policy at American University, and the Journal of Industrial Ecology. He has also served on NSF’s Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education; EPA’s Science Advisory Board and Board of Scientific Counselors; the Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); the Board on Global Science and Technology of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine; and Games for Change. He has graduate degrees in public administration and environmental design from Harvard University and Yale University and a degree in industrial design from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Dr. Jeffrey D. Wolt
Iowa State University

Dr. Wolt is currently professor in the programs of Agronomy, Environmental Science, and Toxicology at Iowa State University. He started his academic career studying biology at Case Western Reserve University and completed his BS in bio-agricultural science at Colorado State University. He received his MS and PhD in agriculture from Auburn University with emphasis in environmental soil chemistry. His expertise includes soil solution chemistry, environmental chemistry, biogeochemistry, ecotoxicology, and risk assessment. Prior to coming to Iowa State, he held academic appointments with the University of Tennessee, the University of Hawaii, and Purdue University. He also worked as an environmental chemist and risk analyst with Dow Chemical. Dr. Wolt’s current research interests include biotechnology safety analysis applied to risk management and science policy decision-making; environmental and ecotoxicological risk assessment; soil and environmental chemistry applied to exposure assessment, efficacy, environmental monitoring, environmental toxicology, and environmental fate of xenobiotics and genetically modified agricultural products; and applied soil solution chemistry. He also works with regulators and scientists throughout the world to formulate and promote harmonized approaches for assessing the safety of genetically-engineered plants. His lab group works on the environmental fate of plant products introduced into agroecosystems.

Committee Membership Roster Comments
08/31/2016 Committee composition has changed due to the resignation of Richard Johnson.

Statement of Committee Composition
Disclosure of Conflict of Interest: Steven L. Evans

In accordance with Section 15 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the "Academy shall make its best efforts to ensure that no individual appointed to serve on [a] committee has a conflict of interest that is relevant to the functions to be performed, unless such conflict is promptly and publicly disclosed and the Academy determines that the conflict is unavoidable." A conflict of interest refers to an interest, ordinarily financial, of an individual that could be directly affected by the work of the committee. As specified in the Academy's policy and procedures (http://www.nationalacademies.org/coi/index.html), an objective determination is made for each provisionally appointed committee member whether or not a conflict of interest exists given the facts of the individual's financial and other interests and the task being undertaken by the committee. A determination of a conflict of interest for an individual is not an assessment of that individual's actual behavior or character or ability to act objectively despite the conflicting interest.

We have concluded that for this committee to accomplish the tasks for which it was established its membership must include among others, at least one person who is currently and directly engaged in the biotechnology industry with a focus on the research, development, and production of novel agricultural biotechnology products.

To meet the need for this expertise and experience, Dr. Steven Evans is proposed for appointment to the committee even though we have concluded that he has a conflict of interest because he is an employee of Dow AgroSciences, whose financial interests could be affected by the outcome of the study.

As his biographical summary makes clear, Dr. Evans has current industry experience working to identify, develop, and acquire new biotechnology capabilities, and has over 30 years of experience in the agricultural biotechnology industry, including the development and production of novel seeds, plant sciences, product chemistry and biochemistry, and the development of bioherbicides. This experience and expertise in the agricultural biotechnology industry is critical to the ability of the committee to fulfill its task. We believe that Dr. Evans can serve effectively as a member of the committee and that the committee can produce an objective report, taking into account the composition of the committee, the work to be performed, and the procedures to be followed in completing the work.

After an extensive search, we have been unable to find another individual with current industry experience and equivalent technical expertise and experience in the biotechnology industry as Dr. Evans who does not have a similar conflict of interest. Therefore, we have concluded that this potential conflict is unavoidable.


Disclosure of Conflict of Interest: Jeffrey D. Wolt

In accordance with Section 15 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the "Academy shall make its best efforts to ensure that no individual appointed to serve on [a] committee has a conflict of interest that is relevant to the functions to be performed, unless such conflict is promptly and publicly disclosed and the Academy determines that the conflict is unavoidable." A conflict of interest refers to an interest, ordinarily financial, of an individual that could be directly affected by the work of the committee. As specified in the Academy's policy and procedures (http://www.nationalacademies.org/coi/index.html), an objective determination is made for each provisionally appointed committee member whether or not a conflict of interest exists given the facts of the individual's financial and other interests and the task being undertaken by the committee. A determination of a conflict of interest for an individual is not an assessment of that individual's actual behavior or character or ability to act objectively despite the conflicting interest.

We have concluded that for this committee to accomplish the tasks for which it was established its membership must include among others, at least one person who has current practical expertise in understanding, analyzing, and assessing the risks associated with possible new industrial products of biotechnology.

To meet the need for this expertise and experience, Dr. Jeffrey Wolt is proposed for appointment to the committee even though we have concluded that he has a conflict of interest because he holds investments in a company whose financial interests could be affected by the outcome of the study.

As his biographical summary makes clear, Dr. Wolt has over 35 years of experience in environmental and ecotoxicological risk assessment; food and feed safety risk assessment; soil and environmental chemistry applied to exposure assessment, efficacy, environmental monitoring, environmental toxicology, and environmental fate of agricultural products. This experience and expertise in risk assessment specific to multiple sectors of the biotechnology industry is critical to the ability of the committee to fulfill its task. We believe that Dr. Wolt can serve effectively as a member of the committee and that the committee can produce an objective report, taking into account the composition of the committee, the work to be performed, and the procedures to be followed in completing the work.

After an extensive search, we have been unable to find another individual with the equivalent combination of current technical expertise in the biotechnology industry and broad experience in risk assessment as Dr. Wolt who does not have a similar conflict of interest. Therefore, we have concluded that this potential conflict is unavoidable.