BIO Welcomes New Deputy Division Director in DEB

Dr. Bernice L. Smith (Credit: Bernice L. Smith)

BIO is pleased to welcome Dr. Bernice L. Smith as the new Deputy Division Director for the Division of Environmental Biology (DEB). Dr. Smith was most recently a Senior Science and Policy Advisor, Planning and Performance Lead, and Justice40 Lead in the Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), where she previously held other positions. She also served as a program manager for global climate change research at EPA’s National Center for Environmental Research.  

Dr. Smith is not new to NSF, she previously served on a detail as Acting Deputy Division Director in the Division of Social and Economic Sciences within the Foundation’s Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE). During that detail, she co-led the Strategic Review Team that helped modernize NSF’s Merit Review Report.  

She holds a PhD in Environmental Design and Planning from Virginia Tech and a Master of Science degree from Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Smith earned her Bachelor of Science from Hampton University. 

BIO wants to thank Dr. Matt Kane and Dr. Katharina Dittmar for their time as Acting Deputy Division Director over the past year. 

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Smith.

Help us find the next BIO AD

Dear BIO Community,  

As you may have heard, after 23 years at NSF, I will be retiring at the end of September 2022. It has been a pleasure to serve this community and the nation through multiple steads in the Directorate for Biological Sciences, and especially for the last four years as BIO’s Assistant Director.

I know that, given the staff and leadership in BIO, the community will be in very good hands and NSF will continue to support the cutting edge of biology and its connections to other areas of science and engineering.

That said, NSF has begun a search for the next Assistant Director for Biological Sciences. Director Panchanathan released a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) requesting recommendations for the search committee to consider. Specifically, they are looking for outstanding leaders who have a deep record of scholarship and understand the issues facing the biological sciences, particularly in terms of support for fundamental research, innovation, broadening participation, and workforce development.

Recommendations should be sent via email to by Friday, August 12, 2022. Further information on the review criteria, BIO, and the search committee can be found in the DCL.

Thank you for all you do to advance the biological sciences and to support the development of the next generation of biologists. The advances this community has made and the ones we will make are critical to addressing the most important challenges and making the best use of the grandest opportunities now and into the future.

Joanne Tornow