National Science Foundation Taps UCF Biology Talent

National Science Foundation Taps UCF Biology Talent

University of Central Florida biologist Betsy Von Holle is lending her talents to the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C., serving a year as program director.

Her leave of absence started this summer. The area she oversees includes studies and grants in the area of: population dynamics of individual species, demography, fundamental ecological interactions affecting populations, communities, their environments, mechanisms of coexistence and the maintenance of species diversity, and conservation and restoration among others.

Von Holle’s primary responsibilities include interacting with investigators, facilitating merit-review panels, and recommending funding decisions.

“I’m very excited to be here at NSF,” Von Holle said. “I am able to see what the cutting-edge science is in ecology and am excited about facilitating the progress of science. Washington, D.C., is also an exciting place to be, where science, policy, and culture intersect in a very vibrant city.”

She said she is benefitting from the opportunity to work with other top investigators in her field as well as getting a broad look at a variety of research that is impacting ecology.

Von Holle joined UCF in 2007 after working at the Smithsonian’s Environmental Research Center, Harvard University and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has a bachelor’s of science in ecology, behavior and evolution from the University of California at San Diego and a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She has received multiple awards and grants from many institutions including the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Her leave of absence concludes in a year at which time she plans to return to UCF to continue her own research.

Two other UCF faculty members are currently working at NSF:  Debra Reinhart, assistant vice president for Research and Commercialization, and Ruey-Hung Chen, a professor in the college of Engineering and Computer Science.