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Advisory Committee

Member Biographies 

Joan Brennecke's interests are in the development of environmentally benign solvents and processes. Of particular interest is the use of supercritical carbon dioxide, supercritical water, and ionic liquids for extractions, separations, and reactions.

Dr. Brennecke received her B.S. from the University of Texas and her M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.
(Term Expiration: June 2005)

James P. Collins received his B.S. from Manhattan College in 1969 and his M.S. and Ph.D. from The University of Michigan in 1971 and 1975. He joined the faculty at Arizona State University in 1975, and is currently Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Natural History and Environment. From 1989 to 2002, he served as Chairman of the Zoology, then Biology Department. Dr. Collins served as Director of the Population Biology and Physiological Ecology program at NSF in 1985-86.

Dr. Collins's research centers on understanding the origin, maintenance, and reorganization of morphological variation within species. Amphibians, especially salamanders, are used as model organisms for field and laboratory studies of the ecological and evolutionary forces shaping intraspecific variation and the influence of this variation on population dynamics. A special focus of the research is host-pathogen biology and its relationship to the global decline of amphibians. The intellectual and institutional factors that have shaped Ecology's development as a science are also a focus of Dr. Collins's research.
(Term Expiration: December 2004)

Jack Dangermond is the founder and president of ESRI, the world’s fourth largest privately held software company. Founded in 1969 and headquartered in Redlands, California, ESRI is widely recognized as the technical and market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, pioneering innovative solutions for working with spatial data on the desktop, across the enterprise, in the field, and on the Web. ESRI has the largest GIS software install base in the world with more than one million users in more than 100,000 organizations representing government, NGOs, academia, and industries such as utilities, health care, transportation, telecommunications, homeland security, retail, and agriculture. He fostered the growth of ESRI from a small research group to an organization of 2,700 employees, known internationally for GIS software development, training, and services. ESRI now has 16 subsidiaries as well as more than 72 distributors worldwide. ESRI also has 11 regional offices throughout the United States and continues to grow at a rapid rate.

Mr. Dangermond is recognized not only as a pioneer in spatial analysis methods, but also as one of the most influential people in GIS. Over the last 30 years, Mr. Dangermond has delivered keynote addresses at numerous international conferences, published hundreds of papers on GIS, and given thousands of presentations on GIS around the world.

He is the recipient of a number of awards, honorary degrees, lectureships, and medals including the 2000 LaGasse Medal of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Brock Gold Medal of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, the Cullum Geographical Medal of the American Geographical Society, the EDUCAUSE Medal of EDUCAUSE, the Horwood Award of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, the Anderson Medal of the Association of American Geographers, and the John Wesley Powell Award of the U.S. Geological Survey. He is a member of many professional organizations and has served on advisory committees for U.S. agencies including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Science and Technology Advisory Committee, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis (NCGIA).

Mr. Dangermond graduated with a bachelor of science in environmental science from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, California. He holds a master of science degree in urban planning from the Institute of Technology at the University of Minnesota and a master of science degree in landscape architecture from the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, where he worked in the Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Design. He holds honorary doctorates from The City University of London, University of Redlands, and Ferris State University. (Term expiration: December 2006)

Professor Deborah Estrin is a Professor of Computer Science at UCLA and is Director of the NSF-funded Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS). Estrin received her Ph.D. (1985) in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, her M.S. (1982) from M.I.T. and her B.S. (1980) from U.C. Berkeley. Before joining UCLA she was a member of the University of Southern California Computer Science Department from 1986 through the middle of 2000. She is also a member of the Computer Networks Division at the USC Information Sciences Institute.

In 1987, Professor Estrin received the National Science Foundation, Presidential Young Investigator Award for her research in network interconnection and security. During the subsequent 10 years much of her research focused on the design of network and routing protocols for very large, global, networks, such as: scalable multicast routing and transport protocols, self-configuring protocol mechanisms for scalability and robustness, and tools and methods for designing and studying large scale networks. More recently, Professor Estrin has been collaborating with her colleagues and students at UCLA and USC/ISI to develop protocols and systems architectures needed to realize rapidly-deployable and robustly-operating networks of many thousands of physically-embedded devices, e.g., sensor networks, toasternet, etc. She is particularly interested in the application of spatially and temporally dense embedded sensors to environmental monitoring.

Professor Estrin has been a co-PI on the DARPA funded SCADDS, SAMAN, and SCAN projects, and the NSF funded SCOWR project. She was previously PI on The VINT (Virtual Internet Testbed), NSF Routing Arbiter, and RSVP-II projects at ISI. She has been an active participant in the Inter-Domain Multicast Routing WG and End-to-end research group and a member and study-chair for DARPA's ISAT advisory board. She also chaired the 2001 NRC study on Networked Embedded Computing which produced the report Embedded Everywhere.

Professor Estrin is a fellow in the ACM and AAAS and a Senior member of the IEEE. She has served on numerous panels for the NSF, National Academy of Sciences/NRC, and DARPA. She has also served as an editor for the ACM/IEEE Transactions on Networks, and as a program committee member for many networking related conferences, including Sigcomm and Infocom. She is General Co-Chair for the first ACM Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems, Sensys 2003. (Term Expiration: June 2006)

Prior to entering active military service in 1959, Dr. Futrell worked as a radiation chemist at the Humble Oil and Refining Company Research Center. He served as an officer in the United States Air force from 1959 to 1961 and as a civilian scientist at the Aerospace Research Laboratories, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, from 1961-67. In 1967, he was appointed Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Utah, and in 1968, he was promoted to Professor of Chemistry. In 1974 he was appointed Adjunct Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and in 1975 Adjunct Professor of Mining, Metallurgy, and Fuels Engineering at the University of Utah. From 1986-1997 he was Chairman and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Delaware. In 1989, he became the Willis F. Harrington Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and in 1993 was appointed Professor of Chemical Engineering (joint appointment, primary appointment in Chemistry and Biochemistry). Dr. Futrell holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Louisiana Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley.

In October 1998 Dr. Futrell was appointed Director of the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In August 2002 Dr. Futrell assumed the title of Senior Battelle Fellow and Chief Science Officer.

Dr. Futrell has worked in several areas of reaction kinetics and has played a key role in extending our understanding of ion-molecule reactions. He has done significant work in photochemistry and radiation chemistry and several aspects of the theory and practice of mass spectroscopy.
(Term Expiration: December 2005)

Dr. Kabat Lensch is the Director of the Advanced Technology Environmental Education Center (ATEEC) and the Dean of Arts and Sciences for Scott Community College. Ellen has over 15 years of community college administrative experience in a multi-college district, including Director of Telecommunications, Associate Director of Program Development and Alternative Delivery Systems, Curriculum Designer, and Research and Marketing Specialist. She has successfully written and administered numerous grants and contracts. Ellen has expertise in areas of program development, evaluation, environmental education, and distance learning. Ellen serves on numerous local, state and national committees related to the community college, the environment and distance learning. She has taught courses for a variety of institutions, delivered numerous speeches and presentations, and has published in areas related to program development, environmental and distance education. Ellen holds a B.S. in biology from Iowa State University, an M.B.A. from St. Ambrose University and a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Iowa.
(Term Expiration: December 2006)

Robert L. Lichter, co-founder and Principal of Merrimack Consultants, LLC, received his A.B. cum laude from Harvard College in 1962 and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1967, both in chemistry. He was a NIH postdoctoral fellow at the Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany, from 1967 to 1968, and a research fellow at the California Institute of Technology from 1968 to 1970. After 13 years in the chemistry department at Hunter College of the City University of New York, including four years as department chair, he became regional director of grants at Research Corporation from 1983 to 1986. From 1986 to 1989 he served as vice provost for research and graduate studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where he administered a total budget of ca. $80 million. Before accepting his current position, he was executive director of the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation from 1989 to 2002, where he directed the strategies and administration of ten programs and related activities that yield about $6 million in grants and awards in the chemical sciences on an asset base that has been as high as $124 million after expenditures. A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Chair of its Section on Chemistry for 2001-2002, Lichter has also been a councilor of the Council on Undergraduate Research, has participated in the science education reform effort Project Kaleidoscope, has chaired the Section on Chemical Sciences and the Committee on Science Education of the New York Academy of Sciences, and was a member of the Trustees’ Advisory Council of the New York Hall of Science. A member of the Board of Governors of the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research from 1992 to 1998, he was Chair of the Board from 1994 to 1996. Lichter also has served on and has chaired numerous national panels and advisory boards dealing with broad educational and scientific issues, including many for the American Chemical Society, the National Science Foundation and the National Research Council. Lichter was a founding member of the latter’s Chemical Sciences Roundtable and served on its steering committee. He was elected chair of the 2001 Gordon Research Conference on Innovations in College Chemistry Teaching. He was founding chair of the Board of Directors of Science Matters, Inc., a new organization directed to enhancing communication of science to a broader public. In his current position he manages and develops strategies for providing advising and consulting services to educational, philanthropic and non-profit organizations. His research area was in carbon-13 and nitrogen-15 nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, in which he published more than three dozen papers and co-authored three monographs.
(Term Expiration: December 2005)

Dr. Bruce Logan is the Stan and Flora Kappe Professor of Environmental Engineering at Penn State University, and Director of the College of Engineering’s Environmental Institute (EI). Dr. Logan’s areas of expertise are in environmental transport processes, bioenergy production, bioadhesion, colloidal dynamics, and bioremediation. His recent work in bioenergy is focused on the use of organic matter for energy production using bioreactors. His most recent work in this area includes biological hydrogen production from food processing wastewaters and the direct generation of electricity from dissolved organic matter using microbial fuel cells. He is widely published in science and engineering fields ranging from marine biology, limnology and oceanography, to water treatment, hazardous waste site remediation and many general areas of environmental sciences and engineering. He has written a graduate level textbook on chemical transport in natural and engineered systems, and has received several awards including the AEESP Research Frontiers Award, the PSES Outstanding Research Award, the USANC Founders Award, and a WEF Biosolids Task Force award. In 1993 he was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Constance (Germany) and in 2003 a Leverhulme Fellow at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne (England). He is a past president of the Association of Environmental Engineering & Science Professors (AEESP). Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State in 1997, he was on the faculty at the University of Arizona in the departments of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, and Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics (1986 to 1997).
(Term Expiration: December 2005)

Diane M. McKnight is a Professor of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering and Fellow of INSTAAR at the University of Colorado. She received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Professor McKnight's research interests focuses on interactions between hydrologic, chemical and biological processes controlling the dynamics of aquatic ecosystems. She conducts research focusing on interactions between freshwater biota, trace metals, and natural organic material in diverse freshwater environments. This research is carried out through field-scale experiments, modeling, and laboratory characterization of natural substrates. Main field sites are located in the Rocky Mountains and in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica, and includes pristine and stressed ecosystems, such as acid mine drainage influenced mountain streams. Professor McKnight has also developed interactions with state and local groups involved in mine drainage and watershed issues in the Rocky Mountains. She is a co-principal investigator in the McMurdo Dry Valley LTER and in the Niwot Ridge LTER.

Professor McKnight is past-president of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, a member of Sigma Xi, American Chemical Society, American Geophysical Union Chair, and editor of the new JGR-Biogeosciences of AGU. (Term expiration: December 2006)

Dr. Anthony F. "Tony" Michaels conducts research on the role of ocean biology in global biogeochemical cycles and on a variety of environmental science topics at the interface between human activities and the natural world. He is a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Southern California (USC) and Director of the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, an organized research unit that unites marine and environmental programs across all departments at the university. He did his Ph.D. research at the University of California, Santa Cruz and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. For seven years, he helped develop an ocean time-series program (researching the link between climate and how the oceans influence greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide) at the Bermuda Biological Station for Research. While in Bermuda, he helped start a program that created new links between the academic science community and climate and the property insurance industry. Both the ocean science research and the insurance risk programs came to involve the study of each as a complex dynamical system. In 1996, Dr. Michaels moved to Southern California to become the new Director of the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies. The Institute, with facilities and faculty on both the mainland and on Catalina Island, is involved in a wide variety of environmental science research, education of students of all ages and it has a goal to make that research relevant, usable and understandable to decision makers in business and society. (Term Expiration: June 2006)

Dr. Ashanti Johnson Pyrtle is an Assistant Professor at the College of Marine Science, University of South Florida. Dr. Pyrtle received her B.S. (1993) in Marine Science from Texas A&M University-Galveston and her Ph.D. (1999) in Oceanography from Texas A&M University. Before joining the University of South Florida she served as a research faculty member for the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences and the Savannah State University Marine Science Program.

Dr. Pyrtle's aquatic science research involves the utilization of biogeochemical indicators to interpret past events that have impacted various marine, estuarine and freshwater environments. She is currently examining the distribution, behavior, transport and retention of man-made and naturally occurring radionuclides in Puerto Rico, Southwest Florida and Savannah (Georgia) area inland and coastal ecosystems. In addition to her research activities, Dr. Pyrtle has initiated several programs that attest to her commitment to human resource development and increased diversity in Earth system science.

Dr. Pyrtle has been involved in several endeavors designed to facilitate the advancement and professional development of students representing diverse socioeconomic, cultural, gender, racial and academic backgrounds. She serves as the director of the Minorities Striving and Pursuing Higher Degrees of Success in Earth System Science Initiative (, co-director of the USF College of Marine Science OCEANS GK-12 Fellowship Program (, and is a member of the US National Science Foundation Advisory Committee on Environmental Research and Education, American Geophysical Union Diversity Subcommittee, American Society of Limnology and Oceanography Education Subcommittee, South East Center for Ocean Science Education Excellence Advisory Board, International Safe Water Conference Steering Committee, and Digital Library for Earth System Education Annual Meeting Planning Committee. (Term expiration: December 2006)

Dr. Rodriguez travels throughout the world looking for natural chemicals produced by plants and animals. He tries to discover how these chemicals work, why they are made by the organism, and how we can apply them, particularly in medicines and pesticides.

Dr. Rodriguez created a new discipline of science called zoopharmacognosy, the study of the behavior of animals that medicate themselves and of the chemistry of medicinal plants. He and Richard Wrangham of Harvard University discovered that wild animals use plants as medicine. He and his research team have isolated the chemicals from many native plants that are useful as medicines. In December 1992, Dr. Rodriguez was the first American to be awarded the Martin de la Cruz Award from the Mexican government for research on the chemistry of plants used by Aztecs for medicine.
(Term Expiration: June 2005)

Dr. Schimel's research sits at the interface of ecosystem and microbial ecology. He is interested in the role of soil microbes in controlling ecosystem scale processes and particularly interested in the linkages between plant and soil processes, and how changes in microbial community structure affects ecosystem-scale dynamics. His current work focuses on three ecosystems: the Arctic tundra in Alaska, the taiga forest of Alaska, and the California annual grassland-oak savanna.

Dr. Schimel received his undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Middleburgy College and his Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of California at Berkeley. He is currently a professor of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He also holds a joint appointment in the Environmental Studies Program.
(Term Expiration: December 2005)

Dr. Jerry R. Schubel has been President and CEO of The Aquarium of the Pacific since June of 2001. He is President emeritus of The New England Aquarium where he served from 1994 to 2001. From 1974 to 1994 he was Dean and Director of the Marine Sciences Research Center at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. During that period he served as the University’s Provost for three years. He is a coastal Oceanographer with broad experience in searching for strategies for humans to live in harmony with their coastal environments. He is on the Marine Board and previously served as Chair. He is Chair of the National Sea Grant Review Panel, and a member of NSF’s Education and Human Resources Advisory Counsel. He is past President of the Estuarine Research Federation. He serves on a number of other local, state and national committees. He has published several books and more than 200 articles. (Term expiration: December 2005)

Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd is a research meteorologist in the Laboratory for Atmospheres at NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center. For the past 10 years, he has conducted research into mesoscale weather systems using aircraft, satellites, radars, and sophisticated computer models. This research seeks to understand mesoscale (i.e. thunderstorms, hurricanes) atmospheric processes and to relate them to current weather and climate change. Dr. Shepherd's most recent work is investigating the linkage between urban cities and rainfall modification using space-based instruments.

He also supports mission development in NASA's Earth Science Enterprise that seeks to understand the Earth as system and how changes in the atmosphere, land, ocean, and ice regimes impact Earth's habitability, life-sustaining resources, and quality of life. Most recently, Dr. Shepherd has been an integral part of new satellite missions with the goal of understanding the global energy and water cycle and its roles in weather and climate change. He is currently serving as Deputy Mission Scientist for the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission. Additionally, Dr. Shepherd seeks to integrate new science knowledge from NASA missions into real-life applications and decision-making processes.

Dr. Shepherd provides service to NASA and the larger scientific and educational communities through his work as a JASON Host Researcher, American Meteorological Society (AMS) member, AMS Committee on Satellite Meteorology and Oceanography Member, National Technical Association Member, American Geophysical Union Member, International Association of Urban Climatology member, Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) outreach scientist and reviewer on numerous technical and science committees. Dr. Shepherd was recently appointed to the advisory panel for the NOAA Center for Atmospheric Sciences at Howard University. He has also chaired the American Meteorological Society's Board on Women and Minorities.

Dr. Shepherd received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D in physical meteorology from Florida State University. He was the first African American to receive a Ph.D from the Florida State University Department of Meteorology, one of the nation's oldest and respected. Dr. Shepherd was also nominated for the 2003 President's Early Career Award for Scientist and Engineers under 35. He is an AMS/TRW Industry and Dolores Auzene Fellow as well as a National Achievement Scholar. He is a member of Chi Epsilon Pi Meteorology Honorary, Omicron Delta Kappa National Honorary, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He has numerous written publications, oral presentations, and media (TV and radio) appearances as a NASA expert on weather, climate, and remote sensing. Dr. Shepherd is also frequently asked to present findings and results to key personnel at NASA, OMB, OSTP, DoD, and officials from foreign countries. Dr. Shepherd also recently co-authored a childrenÕs book on conducting weather-related science projects and understanding basic weather information. (Term expiration: June 2007)

David Skole is currently the Director of the Basic Science and Remote Sensing Initiative, a research program focused on environmental research using remote sensing systems. Dr. Skole's research interests focus on the role humans play in changing land cover throughout the world. He uses satellite data to measure the patterns of landscape change at regional and global scales, then employs field research to uncover the fundamental processes of change. Dr. Skole is also developing analyses and models of the carbon cycle and biodiversity. Currently he is involved in research projects focused on understanding the interannual variation in deforestation rates, and the social and ecological controls on its variation over time. He is PI of a NASA ESIP center. He is also PI for the NASA Landsat Pathfinder Project, PI on a number of other funded research projects including the Large Scale Amazon Basin Experiment. He is a PI and member of the Landsat 7 Science Team, and is a PI with the Canadian Radarsat program and the Japanese JERS program. Dr. Skole is the PI on the NASA funded Center of Excellence in the Applications of Remote Sensing at MSU. He is also PI and Co-I on several studies of the human dimensions of land use and cover change.

Skole is the Chairman of the IGBP/IHDP Core Project on Land Use and Cover Change, a Steering Committee member for the IGBP Data and Information Systems project, as well as a member of the Standing Committees of the IGBP and IHDP. He has served on several NASA committees and panels for EOS and its data system and other programs. He is currently the High Resolution Design Team Leader for the CEOS project on Global Observations of Forest Cover. He has consulted and been awarded contracts for several private aerospace firms including Raytheon and Hughes, and for the World Bank and NGOs including the World Resources Institute.
(Term Expiration: December 2005)

Dr. Wilson studies fluid flow and transport in permeable media, using field & laboratory experiments and mathematical models. In the past this has included studies of the movement of water, non-aqueous phase liquids, dissolved chemicals, colloids, and bacteria through porous, fractured, and faulted media. Other research work is directed toward well-head protection, estimation methods to find the source of observed groundwater contamination, flow through heterogeneous media, and the geological characterization of aquifers. Dr. Wilson received his bachelor's degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology and his MS, CE, PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
(Term Expiration: December 2005)

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Last Updated: 10/16/2004