Meet the Candidates for the 2012 SIMB election. The election will close March 31, 2012. See what each candidate has to say about their SIMB experience and their outlook for the future. Full bios for each candidate are published in November/December SIMB News as well as on the voting site. To access the voting site please login to the SIMB members area. If you have not renewed your 2012 SIMB membership for 2012, renew now to remain eligible to vote. Reminder: Student members are not eligible to vote.
Candidates for President:
Ms. Valerie Benning
I was introduced to the Society when I began my Masters degree at Mississippi State University under Dr. Lewis Brown. He believes that students should get involved in their professional societies because it benefits both the student and the society. I carry on that belief. I was introduced to people who had made industrial microbiology. These people remembered who I was, helped me find employment, answered questions, and became mentors. My experience with the Society has been incredible. If I can help further our mission serving as Society President, I will be honored. I have served at both local (SGLLS-SIM) and national level as secretary and treasurer. I have also served at the national level as session organizer, local sections chair, and judge for several student poster and oral presentations. If elected, I would like to continue investigating how to bring more students into the Society. I believe they are the lifeblood of our organization.
Dr. Elisabeth Elder
The current BOD has developed programs to increase the use of electronic/social media and to enhance self assessment. These have the potential to change the traditional activities of the Society, to expand membership, and to change the interactions between members, sponsors, and advertisers. One result already realized was a shift of SIMB News to paperless. Another result is JIMB may be joined by an on-line journal which will provide format and content options. The new journal, with the improving impact factor of the JIMB, should have a positive impact on visibility and subsequently on membership. These programs are sufficiently new that overall impacts have not been determined. As the BOD changes, these programs should be continued and the impacts carefully assessed. As a more personal goal for SIMB, efforts should be made increase the involvement of the members. Increased involvement will have positive impacts on the members as well as the financial stability of the Society.
Dr. Leonard Katz
Being a molecular biologist with significant industrial experience (Abbott Laboratories, Kosan BioSciences), I believe that new initiatives in synthetic biology will play a major role in Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology in the foreseeable future. I will bring scientific and managerial expertise in this area to the office of President of SIMB, as well as industry contacts made as Director of SynBERC (www.synberc.org)—sponsored research projects at UC Berkeley, UCSF, MIT, Stanford, and Harvard. As president, I will continue ongoing efforts to promote the scientific content of SIMB in our publication, JIMB, as well as in current and future workshops, with European/Asian co-sponsorship; find relevant new topics for the annual meeting; enhance the role of students and postdocs in SIMB; and institute new initiatives to vigorously engage industry.
Candidates for Secretary:
Dr. Robert Donofrio
SIMB has been a stimulating and important part of my life for almost two decades. My MS advisor, Dr. John Stolz, encouraged me to present my first scientific poster at the 1995 SIMB Annual Meeting. Under the guidance of my doctoral mentor, Dr. Susan Bagley, I was fortunate enough to chair the student poster and oral presentation sessions. I’ve also been actively involved as an author and reviewer for JIMB. During my current tenure as director of microbiology at NSF International, I’ve been able to expand my interaction and level of commitment to SIMB by serving as a session convener and assisting on the program planning committee. As the director’s responsibilities include method development/validation, good laboratory practices and quality assurance, I’d like to continue to foster the integration of these focus areas into the session themes of SIMB conferences.
Ms. Abbie More
As I consider what SIMB looks like to me 10 years down the road, it is my expectation that the Society continue with the strong course already set. It’s important that we continue to bring together strong scientific programs, while expanding reach and influence globally. Increasing the use of new technology, while understanding the growing role that social networking plays in enhancing communication and bringing the Society together will be instrumental in growing and expanding membership. I look forward to playing a role in the organization and direction of the SIMB board as it grows and develops in the coming years.
Candidates for Director:
Dr. Bill Adney
My career in biotechnology started over 25 years ago at the Solar Energy Research Institute, which became the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in 1999. I recently left NREL to direct the biofuels research efforts for the Center for Applied and Environmental Biotechnology at RTI, International, in North Carolina. During the past 5 years I either chaired or co-chaired the Symposium on Biotechnology and Chemicals for SIMB. I have been part of that meeting since it began as a small science-based conference organized by NREL and ORNL and sponsored by the DOE. It has grown to over 900 participants, representing an international community – many of whom are from industry, and has emerged as one of the most important meetings in the field of Bioenergy. As a member of the SIMB board, I will continue do my best to integrate industry and international interests into the planning and organization of this meeting and increase its connection to SIMB.
Dr. Jonathan Mielenz
Jonathan R. Mielenz is a Quarter Century member of SIMB and ASM, Past President of the Northern CA chapter of SIMB, and Co-chairman of the Symposium on Biotechnology for Fuels and Chemicals since 2005. He received his PhD from University of Illinois C-U in Microbiology. His research career has emphasized industrial enzymes and renewable materials starting with genetically engineering one of the first GRAS food enzymes, a thermostable α-amylase, for CPC. Also he helped develop the first renewable polymer feedstock bioprocess from natural fats and oils with his team, and his German counterparts at Henkel. Presently, he has a Group at Oak Ridge National Lab that is active in biomass bioconversion research. As Director he wants to work to insure SIMB remains fiscally sound in the face of the numerous new biotechnology meetings. He believes if we can expand SIMB membership, it will significantly strengthen the Society both fiscally and scientifically.