Rocky Hill, CT – Jo Handelsman, PhD, will deliver this year’s keynote address at the 41st Annual Meeting of the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering (CASE), Tuesday, May 24, 2016, at the University of New Haven. Handelsman is Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Professor Handelsman is a member of CASE.
OSTP provides the president and senior White House staff with accurate, relevant and timely scientific and technical advice, as well as to ensure that the scientific and technical work of the executive branch is coordinated to provide the greatest benefit to society and that its policies are based on sound science. Handelsman has advised on subjects ranging from overcoming bias in STEM careers to climate change and viruses such as Ebola and Zika.
Currently on leave from Yale University, Handelsman is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor and Frederick Phineas Rose Professor for Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. Her research focuses on the genetic and functional diversity of microorganisms in soil, plant and insect gut communities. Handelsman’s lab is one of the pioneers of functional metagenomics, an approach to accessing the genetic potential of unculturable bacteria in environmental samples. Their studies have led to discovery of novel antibiotics and determinants of antibiotic resistance and expanded understanding of multispecies interactions that enhance or diminish the health of host animals and plants.
Handelsman is also known internationally for her efforts to improve science education and increase the participation of women and minorities in science at the university level. She is the co-author of more than 100 scientific papers, 30 editorials and three books about teaching and has received numerous awards in recognition of her mentoring, teaching and research contributions, including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.
A New York native, Handelsman is a Cornell University graduate and earned her PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she served on the faculty from 1984 until 2010, before joining Yale.