Background And Education
I am currently the Director of the Global Genome Initiative and Senior Scientist in the Department of Entomology. The Global Genome Initiative (GGI) —organized by the Smithsonian Institution as part of its Institute for Biodiversity Genomics— seeks to “preserve and understand the genomic diversity of life.” With partners and collaborators, it aims to sample key branches of the Tree of Life phylogenetically and synoptically via a global network of biorepositories and research organizations. Specifics goals are to preserve sample of all families and 50% of described genera; to make these collections available for research, with appropriate access and benefit sharing (ABS); to increase computational support and technological capacity to sequence genomes; and to train the next generation of genomics researchers in biodiversity science.
From 2009 to 2014 I was the Associate Director for Science, NMNH. Responsibilities included overall leadership and administration of NMNH research and collections activities, including seven scientific departments comprising over 300 employees, a standing population of approximately 400 Ph.D.s, the Laboratory of Analytical Biology, the Collections Program (care, registration, digitization), Academic Services to interns, graduate students, fellows, research associates and collaborators, emeritus scientists, etc., high-level liaison and hosting of resident Federal Agencies (USDA, Commerce, Interior, Defense) and strategic initiatives (Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL), Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), and field stations (Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce and Carrie Bow Cay, Belize). Other areas of responsibility included support and curatorial partnerships with Exhibits, Education, and other outreach programs and the Office of Advancement, especially for NMNH strategic initiatives; and support and liaison for Operations and Informatics.