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January 14, 2008

Dr. James M. Gentile, President, Research Corporation, 1-14-08


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Dr. James M. Gentile is president of Research Corporation, America’s second-oldest foundation and a major proponent of the advancement of science. He is a leader in the field of science education and a frequent speaker on issues involving the integration of scientific research and higher education.

Dr. Gentile is a geneticist. Before joining Research Corporation he focused his research on the role of metabolism in the conversion of natural and xenobiotic agents into mutagens and carcinogens. Among many other national and international awards, he has received the Alexander Hollaender Research Excellence Award from the Environmental Mutagen Society, and he has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was also the editor-in-chief for the international research journal Mutation Research for more than a decade.

Dr. Gentile is a national associate of the National Research Council (NRC), where he played a leadership role in the highly praised NRC publication Biology 2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Research Biologists. He currently serves as president for the International Association of Environmental Mutagen Societies and is a current member of the editorial boards of four international journals.

Dr. Gentile came to the Research Corporation from higher education. He served as dean for the natural sciences at Hope College in Holland, MI, where he held an endowed professorship. Over the years he has been a program director for grants from many public and private-sector institutions, including the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the World Health Organization, and the Research Corporation.

For nearly a century, Research Corporation, America’s first foundation for science advancement, has played a key role in creating the modern world and in improving our understanding of the universe.

Among its accomplishments, which cover nearly all of the physical sciences, has been early support of research into rocket propulsion systems, atomic physics, nutritional diseases and astronomy. The foundation helped Robert Goddard, the father of modern rocketry; it funded the first large cyclotron; almost single-handedly wiped out pellagra and beriberi; and was instrumental in creating the field of radio astronomy.

Vannevar Bush, who was instrumental in creating the National Science Foundation, was among the many distinguished scientists, engineers, academicians, business and policy experts who have served on the Research Corporation Board. In the years before World War II – when the benefits of science advancement became starkly apparent – and the subsequent chartering of the NSF in 1950, Research Corporation was the pioneering agency supporting organized research programs in the United States.

More recently, anyone who has undergone magnetic resonance imaging has benefited from Research Corporation funding; and the foundation is currently helping to make possible the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). In conjunction with Google and many academic partners, the LSST will deliver a continuing torrent of information about our changing universe to anyone with access to the Worldwide Web, beginning in a few years.

Dr. James M. Gentile, current president of Research Corporation, says the foundation intends to continue supporting the best American science far into the future. “With every success, with each bit of knowledge gained, science becomes ever more complex, even as the problems facing a burgeoning humanity seem to grow more urgent,” Dr. Gentile adds. “In the face of our 21st century challenges – from global warming to energy scarcity, from genetic engineering to space exploration – Research Corporation will strive to be the ‘tip of the spear,’ opening new areas of study to benefit humankind.”

Posted by David Lemberg at 10:19 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

Dr. Michael W. Deem, John W. Cox Professor in Biochemical and Genetic Engineering and Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Rice University, 1-14-08


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Dr. Michael W. Deem is the John W. Cox Professor in Biochemical and Genetic Engineering and Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Rice University. His speciality is statistical mechanics, specifically the computer simulation of complex molecular systems. In many instances, the methods employed allow investigation of the increasingly tailored microscopic properties of material and biological systems. Moreover, new field-theoretic techniques in statistical mechanics allow computation of meso- and macroscopic material properties from such atomistic simulations. Professor Deem is interested in four main areas of research: bioinformatics, immune system response, protein structure and drug discovery, and zeolite structure and nucleation. His group uses both simulation and analytical statistical mechanics to attack these problems.

Professor Deem's many honors include the NSF CAREER Award (1997-2001); Northrop Grumman Outstanding Junior Faculty Research Award (1997); a Top 100 Young Innovator, MIT Technology Review (November 1999); Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship (2000); and the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2002).

Posted by David Lemberg at 10:16 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index