Diana H. Wall - (Chair)
Diana Wall, Ph.D., (Co-Chair), is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is the 2013 Laureate of the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. She is currently Science Chair, Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative. To understand the importance of soil biodiversity, she works at the physical limits to life in the Antarctic dry valleys where climate change effects are amplified and species diversity is much reduced compared to other soil ecosystems. Dr. Wall’s more than 25 years of research in the Antarctic continues to clarify the critical links between climate change and soil biodiversity. Her interdisciplinary research has uncovered dramatic impacts to invertebrate communities in response to climate change, the key role nematode species play in soil carbon turnover, and how they survive such extreme environments. Dr. Wall has combined her polar research with global scale field studies demonstrating that soil animals increase decomposition rates more in temperate and moist tropical climates than in cold and dry conditions, indicating a latitudinal gradient in their roles in ecosystems. Dr. Wall served as President of the Ecological Society of America, the American Institute of Biological Sciences, and the Society of Nematologists. Dr. Wall received the 2017 Eminent Ecologist Award from the Ecological Society of America, the 2016 Honorary Member award from the British Ecological Society, the 2015 Ulysses Medal from University College Dublin, the 2012 SCAR President’s Medal for Excellence in Antarctic Research and the 2013 Soil Science Society of America Presidential Award. Wall Valley, Antarctica was named in 2004 to recognize her research. She is a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America and the Society of Nematologists and holds an Honorary Doctorate from Utrecht University, The Netherlands. She is the Inaugural Director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State University. She received a B.A. in biology and Ph.D. in plant pathology at the University of Kentucky, Lexington.
Volker ter Meulen - (Vice Chair)
Volker ter Meulen, M.D., (Vice Chair), qualified as an M.D. in 1960. He received his post-doctoral training in virology in the United States at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. On returning to Germany in 1966, he specialised in paediatrics and was subsequently Visiting Scientist at the Wistar Institute for Anatomy and Biology in Philadelphia and at the Viral and Rickettsial Disease Laboratory in Berkeley from 1969 to 1970. In 1975 he became a full professor and Chairman of the Institute of Virology and Immunobiology at the University of Würzburg. He retired in 2002, having twice been elected Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of Würzburg University. During his research career, Dr. ter Meulen worked on molecular and pathogenic aspects of viral infections in man and animals, in particular on infections of the central nervous system. Due to the recognition of his research achievements and his experience in heading a Medical Faculty, Dr. ter Meulen has on numerous occasions been invited to give policy advice on research matters to German research organizations and to state and federal ministries of science in Germany. Internationally, Dr. ter Meulen has served on a number of committees of organizations and scientific societies/unions in the area of virology and infectious diseases, covering a broad spectrum of important issues connected to human and animal pathogens. From 2003 to 2010, Dr. ter Meulen was President of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. Under his leadership, the Leopoldina strengthened its international commitments in different inter-academic councils and was appointed to the National Academy of Sciences in 2008. From 2007 to 2010, he was President of the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC), the association of the National Science Academies of the European Union, which is the Interacademy Panel (IAP) associated regional network for Europe. He was elected IAP Co-Chair in February 2013.
Robyn A. Barbato
Robyn A. Barbato, M.Sc., Ph.D., has, since October, 2013, served as a Research Microbiologist at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) in Hanover, New Hampshire, one of seven laboratories that comprise the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). Dr. Barbato leads the Cold Regions Microbiology Team and conducts research on extremophiles in the environment. Dr. Barbato began her career with the Army in 2011 as a postdoctoral fellow with CRREL. After a year and a half of service, she became a federal employee at the laboratory. In 2016, Dr. Barbato was awarded the Department of the Army Achievement Medal for Civilian Service. She has completed the Leadership Development Program and in 2018 was competitively selected for the Emerging Leaders Group. As an extremophile microbiologist, Dr. Barbato leads a team of researchers to answer challenging questions relating to life in the cold regions of the planet. She has extensive experience leading field campaigns in the sub-Arctic and Arctic Alaska to study the permafrost microbiome and how it changes during thaw, as well as the efficacy of bioremediation treatment technologies in cold regions. She and her team write competitive grants to explore the intricate relationships among microorganisms and their surrounding environment, including their ecosystem impacts to address Department of Defense problems on range sustainability, forensics, and detection. Dr. Barbato takes a holistic systems-based approach by combining empirical laboratory and field measurements with stand-off sensing techniques like terrestrial laser scanning and modeling efforts. In doing so, she answers ecosystem-level research questions such as shifts in microbial communities and processes as a result of extreme weather. By generating high resolution microbial sequencing and metagenomics data, she and her collaborators attempt to statistically describe the natural environment and how it changes with perturbations, particularly in extreme environments such as the cold. Dr. Barbato graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree at Cook College, Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 2005. In 2008, Dr. Barbato earned her Master of Science degree at the Graduate School of New Brunswick at Rutgers University. Four years later, Dr. Barbato earned her Ph.D. at Rutgers University studying the response of the soil microbiome to wildfire.
Birgitta Evengård, M.D., Ph.D., is a professor of infectious diseases in the Department of Clinical Microbiology at Umeå University, Sweden and is a senior consultant for Clinic Infectious diseases at Umeå University hospital. From 2008 to 2015, she was a member of the Arctic Human Health Expert group, and between 2011 and 2013 she was chair. Dr. Evengård was chair of ARCUM, the Arctic Research Center at Umeå University, between 2012 and 2016. Since 2016, she has been a member National Committee for Global Environmental Change at the Swedish Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. She is Principal Investigator for the Nordic Center of Excellence funded by Nordforsk: ‘Responsible Development in the North, 2016-2021. Dr. Evengård has over 135 publications in peer-reviewed journals, and she is the author and editor of 11 books. The focus of her research has been infectious diseases in diagnostics, epidemiology and clinical findings with a focus since 2007 on Arctic issues, including health in a changing climate in the North.
Robin Fears, Ph.D., D.Sc., has 29 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry in the UK in research and development (R&D). The first 20 years were focused on cardiovascular disease and neurosciences, from discovery through to marketed product. The final nine years of this industry experience was occupied in setting up and leading a policy group for R&D in Europe. While in industry, he served on committees advising UK and EU trade associations, UK government, Research Councils, university groups and the European Commission and he was Honorary Senior Fellow at the School of Public Policy at the University College London. Since leaving the UK pharmaceutical sector, he has worked as an advisor to various bodies including academies, universities, businesses and parliamentary groups on issues relating to biomedical science and innovation within the European policy environment. He has provided biosciences support to EASAC since 2002.