AAAS Leadership

Led in 2014 by Chair Phillip A. Sharp, CEO Rush D. Holt, CEO Emeritus Alan I. Leshner, and the board of directors,
AAAS fulfilled its mission to “advance science and serve society” through a variety of programs and initiatives.

Welcome Letter

Portrait of Phillip A. Sharp

Phillip A. Sharp
AAAS Chair (2014-2015)
Institute Professor, Koch Institute of Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Portrait of Rush D. Holt

Rush D. Holt
AAAS CEO and Executive Publisher, Science, Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, and Science Advances

Science-based innovations have never been more central to solving global challenges such as climate change, disease, poverty, and hunger. By mid-century, the world’s population is expected to hit 9 billion. Climate change has already resulted in rising sea levels, heat waves, and heavy precipitation events, exacerbating an agricultural crisis. The atmosphere has warmed by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 100 years, and unless we can slow the production of greenhouse gases, additional heating of 4 to 8 degrees F is expected by 2100. Science promises solutions in the form of alternative energies, new energy-efficient technologies, and crops capable of resisting drought and pests. If such discoveries are to truly improve human welfare, however, we must find more efficient ways to speed innovation and its practical applications.

In 2014, an array of AAAS programs focused on accelerating the pace of scientific discovery in service of society. Along with dozens of other leading organizations, for example, AAAS advocated to “Close the Innovation Deficit.” In written testimony to the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, the coalition pointed out that U.S. federal research and development expenditures as a share of the nation’s economy have remained nearly flat over the last decade. By comparison, investments have increased by nearly 50 percent in South Korea and by nearly 90 percent in China. “Our nation is losing ground by insufficiently investing in scientific research and education and shackling itself with visionless continuing [funding] resolutions,” the group wrote in a subsequent letter to policymakers. (For more information on AAAS science policy activities, visit the Science Policy section.)

Given the global nature of our most pressing problems, the association continued in 2014 to promote science diplomacy and international research collaboration. U.S. President Barack Obama established new diplomatic ties with Cuba in 2014. AAAS applauded the policy change, and it forged a landmark agreement with the Cuban Academy of Sciences to encourage cooperation between scientists from both nations. AAAS also implemented an ambitious Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) competition, convening 30 young entrepreneurs from 23 developing nations. The program, established by the U.S. Department of State at Obama’s direction, showcased science-based innovations such as a mobile application to reduce infant and maternal mortality in Uganda, and a bicycle-powered cell phone charger for people in Malawi. (See Science Diplomacy Worldwide.)

The effective communication of science is critical for ensuring public trust in the integrity of science, and scientists. Toward that end, AAAS released an influential report, in English and Spanish, to spell out the extensive body of scientific evidence related to human-caused climate change (see Communication and Public Engagement). The “What We Know” report, approved by a committee of leading experts, including Nobel laureate Mario Molina, was supported by the Rockefeller Family Fund, Lawrence H. Linden, and others. Also in 2014, the association organized a series of popular Communicating Science workshops for scientists and engineers (see Communication and Public Engagement), and the AAAS Lemelson Invention Ambassadors program highlighted the importance of invention and inventors (See Education, Outreach, and Careers).

The devastating Ebola outbreak posed major public-health and communication challenges. In response, AAAS quickly assembled a special, freely accessible collection of authoritative research and news articles from the Science family of journals. The association also co-sponsored a Washington, D.C., conference on global health security issues related to Ebola, and separately, AAAS S&T Policy Fellows convened experts to identify key needs in the most heavily affected regions of Africa. On 29 August, Science published the sequencing of 99 Ebola virus genomes from West African patients. The results provided insights into how the Ebola virus had entered West Africa, where it had never been before, setting the stage for improved diagnosis and treatment. (See Science Journals for more Science highlights on the avian genome, the Rosetta spacecraft’s encounter with a comet, and much more.)

Preparing the next-generation of innovators is critical to scientific discovery. AAAS therefore remains dedicated to improving science education, while also helping to diversify the science and technology pipeline. Project 2061, the science-education reform initiative at AAAS, celebrated the 25th anniversary of Science for All Americans—an influential call to action on U.S. science literacy and national education standards in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). AAAS also joined forces with other organizations to set forth recommendations for improving undergraduate STEM education. (See Improving Science Literacy.)

The association has meanwhile positioned itself to achieve even greater impacts on society in the future, by launching a far-reaching, strategic Transformation Initiative as well as a new online open-access journal, Science Advances. Through the Transformation Initiative, AAAS has moved beyond its print-centric roots to become a multimedia, multiplatform science communication enterprise with a “digital-first” mindset. Those efforts in 2014 included testing of a new digital communication and collaboration platform, Trellis ( At the same time, AAAS has prioritized advocacy and other member-focused activities, while Science Advances has increased the volume of high-quality research available to the public. With your help, we will continue to promote innovation and scientific discovery to improve quality of life worldwide.

Phillip A. Sharp and Rush D. Holt

Board of Directors (2014-2015)

Phillip A. Sharp
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Gerald R. Fink
Whitehead Institute/MIT

Geraldine Richmond
University of Oregon

David Evans Shaw
Black Point Group

Chief Executive Officer
Rush D. Holt (2015)
Alan I. Leshner (2014)

Bonnie L. Bassler
Princeton University

May R. Berenbaum
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Carlos J. Bustamente
University of California, Berkeley

Claire M. Fraser
University of Maryland School of Medicine

Laura H. Greene
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Elizabeth Loftus
University of California, Irvine

Raymond Orbach
University of Texas at Austin

Inder M. Verma
Salk Institute for Biological Studies

AAAS Management

Chief Executive Officer and Executive Publisher
Rush D. Holt

Chief Operating Officer
Phillip Blair

Center for Science, Policy, and Society Programs
Edward Derrick, Chief Program Director

Juli Staiano, Director

Digital Media Group
Rob Covey, Chief Digital Media Officer

Education and Human Resources
Shirley M. Malcom, Director

Executive Office
Chris Gaston, Chief of Staff and Director, Executive Operations (2015)
Gretchen Seiler, Director, Executive Office (2014)

Colleen Struss, Chief Financial Officer/Chief Legal Officer

Human Resources
Alison French, Chief Human Resources Officer

International and Security Affairs
Vaughan Turekian, Chief International Officer and Director, AAAS Center for Science Diplomacy

Information Technology
Michael Savelli, Chief Technology Officer

Beth Bush, Chief Membership Officer

Multimedia Strategies
Josh Freeman, Senior Advisor

Office of Government Relations
Joanne Carney, Director

Office of Public Programs
Ginger Pinholster, Director

Office of Publishing, Marketing, and Sales (OPMS)
Kent R. Anderson, Publisher

Project 2061
Jo Ellen Roseman, Director

Science Editorial
Marcia McNutt, Editor-in-Chief
Monica Bradford, Executive Editor

Science News
Tim Appenzeller, News Editor

Association Information

Association Headquarters
American Association for the Advancement of Science
1200 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20005 USA
Tel: 202-326-6400

AAAS Annual Meeting
Dates: 11-15 February 2016
Location: Washington, D.C.
Find future and past meeting information.

AAAS Programs
Supporting science and engineering capacity, careers, public engagement, science diplomacy, science policy, and more.

Online Resources

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Science Journals
Science, Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, and Science Advances.

Science Careers
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