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GMU Professor James L. Olds to head NSF Biological Sciences Directorate

Monday, September 22, 2014  
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The National Science Foundation (NSF) selected George Mason University's James L. Olds to serve as assistant director for the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO). BIO's mission is to enable discoveries for understanding life. BIO-supported research advances the frontiers of biological knowledge, increases our understanding of complex systems, and provides a theoretical basis for original research in many other scientific disciplines.

Olds is a director and chief academic unit officer at the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, a position he has held for 15 years. He is also the Shelley Krasnow University Professor of Molecular Neuroscience. The international Decade of the Mind project was begun under his leadership at Krasnow, which helped shape President Obama's BRAIN Initiative.
"Dr. Olds has a strong record of academic leadership with an institution that has grown its global presence during his tenure," said NSF Director France A. Córdova. "In addition to his leadership, his commitment to interdisciplinary research at Krasnow and his experience with developing scientific policy will be of great benefit to NSF and to the research community we serve."

"Dr. Olds' commitment to the pursuit of rigorous scientific research that can help solve society's grandest challenges makes him supremely qualified to lead the NSF's Biological Sciences Directorate," said Jo Handelsman, associate director for science at the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy. "I look forward to collaborating with Dr. Olds as the Administration continues to facilitate scientists' work to expand the frontiers of human understanding in the biological sciences--a discipline of critical and growing importance to the nation and the world."

Olds has served as chair of the molecular neuroscience department since 2007. From 2010-2011, and from 2013-2014, Old was chair of GMU's Neuroscience Advisory Council.

"I offer my hearty congratulations to both Jim Olds and to NSF," said Alan Merten, former president of GMU. "Jim is a solid scientist and administrator, with exceptional breadth and depth of experience and knowledge. He's constantly seeking opportunities for collaboration and recognizes that breakthroughs happen at the edge of disciplines."

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