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Special Guests

Introductory Remarks

Dr. Kim Bottomly, a renowned immunobiologist and former deputy provost at Yale University, is Wellesley College’s 13th president. A Montana native, Bottomly graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in zoology and earned her doctorate in biological structure from the University of Washington School of Medicine. Before joining the Yale faculty in 1980, she did postdoctoral work in immunology at the National Institutes of Health.       
        A lifelong scientist and educator, Bottomly’s research has focused on the molecular and cellular factors that influence the initiation of immune responses. She has pioneered studies defining cellular changes associated with allergic and asthmatic responses. Her research has investigated how people respond to allergens and why inhaled allergens lead to lung injury. She has been the principal investigator on five grants from the National Institutes of Health, as well as other research grants, which together supported her 16-person laboratory at the Yale Medical School. She has written more than 160 peer-reviewed articles and has lectured widely at universities in the U.S. and around the world.
(Adapted from http://www.wellesley.edu/PublicAffairs/President/president.html)

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Rita Colwell is a distinguished professor at the University of Maryland at College Park and at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. From 1998-2004, she served as the director of the National Science Foundation and as co-chair of the Committee on Science of the National Science and Technology Council. Dr. Colwell has also served as the President of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute and Professor of Microbiology and Biotechnology. She was a member of the National Science Board from 1984-1990 and has served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Academy of Microbiology and as President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Washington Academy of Sciences, the American Society for Microbiology, the Sigma Xi National Science Honorary Society, and the International Union of Microbiological Societies.
        Dr. Colwell has held many advisory positions in the U.S. Government, nonprofit science policy organizations, and private foundations, as well as in the international scientific research community. She is a nationally-respected scientist and educator, and has authored or co-authored 16 books and more than 700 scientific publications. Dr. Colwell produced the award-winning film, Invisible Seas, and has served on editorial boards of numerous scientific journals. Additionally, she is an honorary member of the microbiological societies of the UK, France, Israel, Bangladesh, and the U.S. and has held several honorary professorships, including the University of Queensland, Australia. A geological site in Antarctica, Colwell Massif, has been named in recognition of her work in the polar regions.

        Her focus is on water, health, and global infectious diseases 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. Her interests in and avenues for communicating science are varied: K-12 science and mathematics education, graduate science and engineering education and the increased participation of women and minorities in science and engineering. 
        Born in Beverly, Massachusetts, Dr. Colwell holds a B.S. in Bacteriology and an M.S. in Genetics from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Washington. She has also been awarded 40 honorary degrees from institutions of higher education.
(Adapted from http://www.cbcb.umd.edu/~rcolwell)


Hilda Bastian is a health consumer advocate and an academic editor at the open access journal "PLOS Medicine". Originally from Australia, she has worked at making clinical effectiveness research accessible with the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Institutes of Health. Bastian is also credited is for improving accessibility and usability of National Library of Medicine (NLM) resources based on systematic reviews, particularly the development of the new NLM website "PubMed Health."
        Before moving to the United States, Hilda Bastian was the head of the Health Information Department at the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) in Cologne, producing a bilingual evidence-based website for patients and consumers. Prior to that, she had been a health consumer advocate in Australia and internationally for over 20 years.
        Additionally, Bastian served as the chairperson for several years of the Consumers’ Health Forum of Australia, the national coalition of community and patient organizations that represents patients and the public in health care. She was one of the founding members of the Cochrane Collaboration and the first Coordinator of its Consumer Network and the first Coordinating Editor of the Cochrane Review Group on Consumers and Communication. Moreover, she began and was heavily involved in the system of synopses – now called plain language summaries – for Cochrane reviews for over 25 years. 
(Adapted from http://us.cochrane.org/sites/us.cochrane.org/files/uploads/Bastian%20website%20bio.pdf)

Dr. Natalie Kuldell is the president of the BioBuilder Educational Foundation and an instructor in the Biological Engineering department at MIT. She completed her doctoral and post-doctoral work at Harvard Medical School and then taught at Wellesley College before joining the faculty at MIT.
        In addition to her own academic research, Dr. Kuldell is also the director of BioBuilder, a web-based resource intended to help teach synthetic biology. She is also involved in BioBuilder summer workshops, training teachers in the engineering of biology and more approachable methods of teaching it. 
        Dr. Kuldell is a scientific adviser for two web-projects to teach the nature and process of science, namely Understanding Science and VisionLearning. She is a regional hub coordinator and core member of the grassroots organization COPUS, which promotes public scientific literacy.
(Adapted from http://educationgroup.mit.edu/HHMIEducationGroup/?page_id=2918)

Peter Thomson is the environment editor for “The World” on BBC/PRI. He works with staff and freelance reporters and the show's hosts to bring coverage of global environmental issues to the program's 2.5 million listeners. 
        Thomson has also worked for National Public Radio, WBUR in Boston, for Monitor Radio and as an independent writer, radio producer and editor. In 1991, Thomson was the founding editor and producer of NPR’s new environmental news program, “Living on Earth.” In nearly 10 years at the program, he helped establish it as a leading and award-winning source for environmental news and analysis. He also reported for the program on issues ranging from oil and natives on Alaska’s North Slope to solar power development in rural Morocco. 
        After college he began his career in public radio at the NPR affiliate in Amherst, Massachusetts. He is the author of the book, “Sacred Sea: A Journey to LakeBaikal,” based on his trip around the world by train and boat via Siberia. He has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire and the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center in Italy. He is a member of the board of directors of the Society of Environmental Journalists and the advisory board of the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting.
(Adapted from http://internationalreportingproject.org/fellows-editors/profile/peter-thomson)

Yang (Sophia) Qiu 
is a researcher in global health. She has conducted projects both in the US and abroad over the past decade and has had extensive experience in healthcare delivery and innovation in health practices. Her most recent work and research have focused on environmental pollution and human-environment interaction in dense urban areas. Some of her experiences include leading government-sponsored multidisciplinary research projects on healthy housing and sustainable renovation practices, international studies on indoor pollution control and exposure assessment, and interdisciplinary innovation projects in social entrepreneurship.
        Aside from academic work, Yang serves on Wellesley College Alumnae Association Board of Directors and Board of Advisers for Women Eye Health at Schepens Eye Research Institute at Harvard University, as well as in an advising capacity for a number of other organizations and projects relevant to global healthcare and environmental studies. She graduated from Wellesley College with B. A. (cum laude) in both biological sciences and anthropology. She obtained her M. Sc. from Department of Global Health and Populations at Harvard School of Public Health. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard School of Public Health.