July 5, 2012
Dr. Rita Colwell is currently the Chairman of Canon US Life Sciences, Inc. and Distinguished University Professor both at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Dr. Colwell holds a B.Sc. in Bacteriology and an M.Sc. in Genetics, from Purdue University, and a PhD in Oceanography from the University of Washington. Her research interests are focused on global infectious diseases, water, and health, and she is currently developing an international network to address emerging infectious diseases and water issues, including safe drinking water for both the developed and developing world.
Dr. Colwell served as the eleventh Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) from 1998-2004. In her capacity as NSF Director, she served as co-chair of the Committee on Science of the National Science and Technology Council. Prior to that, Dr. Colwell was president of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute and professor of Microbiology and Biotechnology at the University of Maryland. She was also a member of the National Science Board from 1984 to 1990.
Dr. Colwell has previously served as President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Washington Academy of Sciences. Dr. Colwell is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.
Dr. Colwell has held many advisory positions in the US Government, nonprofit science policy organizations, and private foundations, as well as in the international scientific research community. She has authored or co-authored 17 books and more than 750 scientific publications. She produced the award-winning film, Invisible Seas, and has served on editorial boards of numerous scientific journals. Dr. Colwell has also been awarded 55 honorary degrees from institutions of higher education, including her Alma Mater, Purdue University. Most recently Dr. Colwell received the 2010 Stockholm Water Prize.