jonathon (joe) howard - biophysical society nervous system; ion channel biophysics; ion channel...

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  • Jonathon (Joe) Howard Professor, Department of Biophysics & Biochemistry Professor, Department of Physics Director, Yale Quantitative Biology Institute Yale University

    PRESIDENT-ELECT NOMINEE VOTE FOR ONE

    Research Interests: Mechanics of motor proteins and the cytoskel- eton, single-molecule techniques, cilia and flagella, cell motility, mitosis, neuronal morphogenesis, mechanical signaling

    Education: B.Sc. Pure Mathematics, Australian National Univer- sity 1979; Ph.D. Neurobiology, Australian National University 1983.

    Summary of Professional Experience: Postdoctoral Fellow, Physiology, Bristol UK 1984; Postdoctoral Fellow, Physiology, UC San Francisco 1984-87; Eugene Higgins Professor of Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry, Yale University, 2013-present; Direc- tor, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology & Genetics, Dresden, Germany, 2001-2013; Professor of Physiology & Bio- physics, University of Washington, Seattle, 1989-2000; Assistant Research Physiologist, UC San Francisco, 1988-89.

    Awards, Honors, and Activities: Australian National Under- graduate Scholar, 1976; Australian Commonwealth Postgraduate Research Scholar, 1979; M.G.F. Fuortes Traveling Scholar, 1981; Fondation pour l’Etude du Système Nerveux Fellow, 1988; Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, 1990; Pew Scholar, 1990; NIH MERIT Award, 2000; Member of the Max Planck Society, 2000; Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization, 2004; NIH Pio- neer Award, 2015; Fellow of the Biophysical Society, 2017.

    Biophysical Society Activities: Society member since 1988; Sym- posium Speaker, 1993, 2000, 2003 (Chair), 2012, 2016 (Chair); Awards Committee, 2016-present; eBooks Advisory Board, 2016-present; 14 papers published in Biophysical Journal and many manuscripts refereed as a reviewer.

    Candidate’s Statement: If elected President of Biophysical Society, I will work to strengthen its mission and its organization. I think the most important mission of the Society is to bring technologi- cal and conceptual innovation into biology. This innovation often comes from the physical sciences. The meetings should continue to showcase new techniques, and Biophysical Journal should continue to demonstrate, by example, how new methods can solve im- portant problems in biology. In addition to the Society’s strength

    in molecular biophysics, we should have a broad definition of biophysics and encourage physical approaches extending to the cellular and tissue levels. I believe that the future of biology is the synthesis from molecules to more complex systems, for example through application of single-molecule and other techniques (e.g. cryoEM, NMR) to cells and organisms. My own work has covered a broad range of biophysics from molecules to cells, in vitro and in vivo.

    A tremendous strength of the Biophysical Society is that it is a tru- ly international organization; it is distinguished from other leading scientific societies, which are nominally American ones. I would bring international experience to the Presidency, having done my PhD in Australia, a short postdoc in the UK, and twelve years in Germany directing a research institute.

    Education is another important mission, both of students and the public. I am committed to education, a major motivation for my joining the faculty at Yale, where I teach undergraduates. My monograph on the Mechanics of Motor Proteins and the Cytoskel- eton has been used in many courses.

    There are three issues that will challenge the leadership of the Society over the next few years. (i) Covid-19 poses several threats: to the annual meeting, to the international spirit of the society, and to the funding of research. The Biophysical Society will need to work with other societies to find solutions. (ii) While less immedi- ate, Plan S will disrupt the publishing model of scientific societies and Biophysical Society will need to secure new sources of revenue. (iii) In the longer term, the crisis of reproducibility in biomedical research threatens to shake the public’s faith in science; Biophysical Society can play an important role by setting an example for rigor in the application of the scientific method.

    My background and administrative experience put me in a strong position to lead Biophysical Society.

  • Gail A. Robertson Professor Neuroscience University of Wisconsin-Madison

    PRESIDENT-ELECT NOMINEE VOTE FOR ONE

    Research Interests: mechanisms of membrane excitability in the heart and central nervous system; ion channel biophysics; ion channel biogenesis and assembly; cardiac arrhythmia mechanisms; hERG technologies for drug discovery and safety testing; single-molecule fluorescence approaches

    Education: BS Neurobiology, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1979; PhD Neuroscience, Washington University in St. Louis, 1986.

    Summary of Professional Experience: Postdoctoral Fellow, Genetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1986-1991; Professor of Neuroscience, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2008-present; Co-founder and Director, UW-Madison M.S. in Biotechnology Program, 2001-2008; T32 Training Program in Translational Cardiovascular Science Co-director, 2011-2019, Director, 2019-present.

    Awards, Honors, and Activities: American Heart Association Fellowship, 1988- 1989; NIH NRSA Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1989-1991; Fellow of the American Heart Association, 1993; NSF CAREER Award, 1997-2002; American Heart Established Investigator Award, 1998-2002; NIGMS/NIH Biomedical Research and Research Training (BRT) Review Committee, regular member and chair, 2001-2006; Editorial board member, The Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2003-2011; California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), Scientific and Medical Research Funding Working Group, 2008-present; AAMC Mid-Ca- reer Women Faculty Professional Development Seminar, 2009; Schuster Price for Excellence in Cardiovascular Research, 2009; Editorial board member, The Journal of General Physiology, 2009-present; NIH Electrical Signaling, Ion Trans- port and Arrhythmias (ESTA) Review Committee, regular member, 2012-2018; Ion Channels Working Group, Safety Pharmacology Society for the Compre- hensive in vitro Proarrhythmia Assay (CiPA), 2014-2016; Vice-chair, 2015 and Chair, Gordon Research Conference on Cardiac Arrhythmia Mechanisms, 2017; UW-Madison Kellett Mid-Career Award, 2018-2023; K.S. Cole Award in Mem- brane Biophysics, 2019.

    Biophysical Society Activities: Society member since 1991; Symposium Speaker, 2003, 2005, 2011; Symposium Speaker and Chair, 2012; Council member, 2011-2014; Chair, Nominating Committee, 2013-2014; Publications Committee member, 2016-present; K.S. Cole Lecturer, 2019.

    Candidate’s Statement: Biophysical Society’s greatest resource is its member- ship, but we face significant barriers to participation due to pandemic disease, economic inequality, and a dwindling pipeline in some STEM fields. Scientific meetings are key to our sense of community, yet are particularly vulnerable in today’s climate. We need to be nimble in implementing technology to maintain our community and promote synergies even when travel is interrupted or is less feasible for those with limited resources, which has been a problem long before the recent pandemic hit. International journal clubs, seminars and, increasingly, meetings of other scientific societies are delivered online. There are challenges to these platforms but potential advantages in terms of broader access. Imagine how many additional trainees and international investigators could gain access to cutting-edge science and leaders in the field if BPS Thematic Meetings or Subgroup Saturday had online components, even after we find ourselves gathering

    in convention centers again. I view inclusivity and excellence as two sides of the same coin. If I were elected BPS President, promoting scientific interactions in unconventional ways would be a primary objective.

    Another point of great concern to many BPS members is dissemination of infor- mation and an increasing array of publication models. We wish simply for a fair review process and a fair cost basis without paywalls wherever possible. As a mem- ber of the BPS Publications Committee, I have engaged in much discussion on this matter both with other committee members and with colleagues around the world. I note a marked diversity of opinions. At a minimum, I believe we should embrace current trends that remove unnecessary roadblocks to disseminating results of our studies while maintaining high standards inherent in peer review. Likely a range of different formats will continue to be utilized, but, if elected President, I would support innovations that expedite our ability to complete our work, disseminate the information, and benefit in a timely way from the advances of our colleagues.

    Scientifically, Biophysical Society is a forum for promoting methodological innovation, cross-disciplinary studies and multiscale approaches. BPS has been a beacon for me as I have taken an unconventional path through neural circuits, gene cloning, ion channel structure-function, ion channel assembly and transla- tional control of membrane excitability. I feel it is sometimes important to ignore disciplinary boundaries and traverse multiple scales in the quest to make advances or challenge dogma. My own attendance at the annual meeting may look like a random walk to some as I dart among presentations on ion channel biophysics, cardiac physiology, mechanisms of protein translation and folding, and spec- troscopic methods development. As President, I would support all scientific disciplines represented in the S

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