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Steering Group Biographies
Co-chair, Andrew H. Knoll—Dr. Knoll is a professor of biology at the Botanical Museum at Harvard University. His areas of expertise include the evolution of life, the evolution of Earth surface environments, and the relationships between the two. He is particularly interested in Archean and Proterozoic paleontology, carbonate sedimentology, and biogeochemistry. His current areas of research include both the early evolution of life and the neo-Proterozoic-Cambrian diversification of animals. Dr. Knoll is currently a member of the Space Studies Board and the 1998 NAS Nominating Committee. His previous NAS service includes membership on the Board on Earth Sciences and Resources, Panel on the Effects of Past Global Change on Life, Panel on the History of Life, Board on Earth Studies, Life Sciences Task Group, and the Committee on Planetary Biology and Chemical Evolution. Dr. Knoll has also served as a member of the delegation to the 30th International Geological Congress in Beijing and the 1997 Charles Doolittle Walcott Medal Selection Committee. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Knoll received a B.A. from Lehigh University and an M.A. and a Ph.D. in geology from Harvard University.
Co-chair, Mary Jane Osborn—Dr. Osborn is a professor and is Head of Microbiology at the University of Connecticut Health Center. Her current research interests include the biogenesis of bacterial membranes. Dr. Osborn has served on numerous distinguished committees, including the National Science Board (80-86), the President's Committee on the National Medal of Sciences (81-82), the Advisory Council of the National Institutes of Health's Division of Research Grants (89-94; chair, 92-94), the Advisory Council of the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology (74-78), the Board of Scientific Advisors for the Roche Institute for Molecular Biology (81-85; chair, 83-85), and the Governing Board of the National Research Council (90-93). She is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (president, 81-82), the American Chemical Society (chair, Division of Biological Chemistry, 75-76), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (fellow; Council, 88-92), the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (president, 82-83), the American Society for
Microbiology, and the American Academy of Microbiology. Dr. Osborn received a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Ph.D. (biochemistry) from the University of Washington.
Norman R. Pace—Dr. Pace is a professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Ecology, University of California at Berkeley. He is an internationally recognized expert in nucleic acids and enzymes. His studies of ribosomal RNA structures have set new standards for the definition of phylogenetic relationships among organisms. Dr. Pace has held academic positions with several universities, including the University of Colorado Medical Center, the National Jewish Hospital and Research Center, the University of Colorado Medical Center, and Indiana University. His research interests include RNA enzymes, RNA processing, macromolecular structure, molecular evolution, and microbial ecology. He has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and the journal RNA (of the RNA Society). He served as a member of the NRC's Committee on Planetary Biology, Committee on Chemical Evolution, Committee on Planetary and Lunar Exploration, and the Mars Rover/Sample Return Advisory Committee. Currently, Dr. Pace is a member of the Board on Scientific Counselors for the National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Microbiology. He is a member of the American Society for Microbiology. Dr. Pace received a B.A. (honors) from Indiana University and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
John Baross—Dr. Baross, a professor of oceanography at the University of Washington, specializes in the ecology, physiology, and taxonomy of microorganisms from hydrothermal vent environments, as well as the use of biochemical and molecular methods to detect, quantify, and classify the same. Dr. Baross has particular interests in the microbiology of extreme environments and in the significance of submarine hydrothermal vent environments for the origin and evolution of life. He is a member of the American Society for Microbiology, the American Chemical Society, the Oceanography Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Society for Limnology and Oceanography, and the Society for Industrial Microbiology (Puget Sound Branch). Dr. Baross is a former member of the National Research Council's Ad Hoc Task Group on Planetary Protection and of the American Academy of Microbiology Committee on the Future of Microbiology; a member of the Ridge Inter-Disciplinary Global Experiments (RIDGE) Steering Committee and of the RIDGE Observatory Coordinating Committee; and an advisory member for Europa Ocean Studies. Dr. Baross received a B.S. degree from San Francisco State University and a Ph.D. degree in marine microbiology from the University of Washington.
Mitchell Sogin—Dr. Sogin is the director of the Bay Paul Center for Comparative Molecular Biology and Evolution at the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Dr. Sogin's research emphasizes molecular phylogeny and the evolution of eukaryotic ribosomal RNAs. He is a member of the American Society for Microbiology, the Society of Protozoologists, the International Society of Evolutionary Protozoologists, the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Society for Cell Biology. Dr. Sogin is an associate fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, a division lecturer for the American Society for Microbiology, a recipient of the Stoll Stunkard Award from the American Society of Parasitologists, a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, a fellow of the American Association of Arts and Sciences, and a visiting Miller Research Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. He also serves on several editorial boards in his specialization. Dr. Sogin received B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in microbiology and molecular biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana.
Howard C. Berg—Dr. Berg is a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Department of Physics at Harvard University and is a member of the Rowland Institute for Science. His primary research interest is the motile behavior of bacteria, including chemotaxis and flagellar rotation in Escherichia coli, flagellar rotation in a motile Streptococcus spp., and swimming of a novel cyano-bacterium. His earlier work includes studies of spin exchange in the hydrogen maser, development of methods for sedimentation field flow fractionation, and studies of the architecture of the human erythrocyte membrane. His honors include a Fulbright Fellowship; membership in the Harvard Society of Fellows, an NSF Science Faculty Professional Development Award; and the Biological Physics Prize of the American Physical Society (with E.M. Purcell). He is a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and of the American Physical Society. He served on the Ford Foundation's Minority Review Panel on Biological Sciences and the NRC's Board on Physics and Astronomy. Dr. Berg received a B.S. degree in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. degree in chemical physics from Harvard University.