August 31, 2011

NSF Selects Wingfield To Head Its Directorate For Biological Sciences

National Science Foundation (NSF) Director Subra Suresh announced on Tuesday the selection of John C. Wingfield to head its Directorate for Biological Sciences. Wingfield, an environmental endocrinologist, joined NSF as division director of Integrative Organismal Systems in September 2010 from the University of California, Davis.

The Directorate for Biological Sciences provides support for research to advance understanding the underlying principles and mechanisms governing life.

"Dr. Wingfield is a distinguished scientist whose research has covered a wide spectrum of topics and fields in biology," said Suresh. "He has already proven his commitment to the goals of the biological sciences here at NSF, and we look forward to great strides in the directorate under his strong leadership."

Wingfield, whose research focuses on neural pathways for environmental signals affecting seasonality in birds and their mechanisms of coping with environmental stress, begins his position on Sept. 6, 2011. Wingfield's research also interfaces with how animals deal with global climate change, endocrine disruption and conservation biology.

"It is indeed a great honor and a challenge to be appointed assistant director for BIO," he said. "This is a transformational time for biological sciences in the post-genome era as we try to understand life on Earth from its most fundamental components at the molecular levels to functioning organisms interacting with their environment, and with each other, at ecosystem scales."

NSF is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering with an annual budget of about $6.9 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 45,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Wingfield takes over the position held by Joann Roskoski, who served as acting assistant director for biological sciences since October 2009.

Five office areas make up the directorate: Biological Infrastructure, Environmental Biology, Emerging Frontiers, Integrative Organismal Systems and Molecular and Cellular Biosciences.

"All the BIO divisions have strong interfaces with each other as well as with the other directorates and offices across NSF," said Wingfield. "I feel it is the responsibility of the AD to pull together the incredibly diverse programs in BIO to advance our basic understanding of life that will contribute to human society in so many ways."

Wingfield received his Ph.D. in Zoology and Comparative Endocrinology from University College of North Wales, U.K. in 1973.


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