Meet IOS

Meet IOS’s Newest Program Director, Nicole Donofrio

IOS enthusiastically welcomes Nicole Donofrio as a Rotator in the Physiological and Structural Systems Cluster, Plant Biotic Interactions Program. She comes to us from the University of Delaware, Department of Plant Pathology. Her group investigates the molecular mechanisms which govern the outcome of interactions between plant pathogens and their hosts. Systems under study in her lab include the devastating cereal fungal pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae and the bean downy mildew pathogen Phytophthora phaseoli, an oomycete and close relative of the pathogen which caused the Irish Potato Famine.  Interests also include reactive oxygen species in pathogenicity.  Nicole is extensively engaged in mentoring and is the Senior Editor of two journals in her field, Phytopathology and Molecular Plant Pathology. A veteran PBI panelist, she looks forward to now serving as an IOS Program Director.

IOS welcomes new staff members to the Team and bids Farewell to departing staff!

IOS welcomes two new rotating Program Directors, John Godwin and Paulyn Cartwright, Ted Morgan, a new permanent Program Director, and a new Science Assistant, Donaven McClaurin.  But with welcomes also come goodbyes.  IOS bids a fond farewell to an outstanding Program Specialist, Kevin Nguyen and rotating Program Director, Anthea Letsou!

Welcome IOS’ newest Program Directors!

Paulyn Cartwright is joining the Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS) from the University of Kansas, where she is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.  Her research uses genomic strategies to examine the development and evolution of marine invertebrates, e.g. jelly fish and coral.  Much of her research has been funded by IOS and Division of Environmental Biology (DEB).  In addition to her research, Paulyn is actively engaged in training, education, and outreach activities.  She has organized many community workshops and symposia and has been a valuable member of NSF review panels.  While at NSF, Paulyn will work in the Developmental Systems Cluster, where she will help run programs on Animal Developmental Mechanisms and Evolution of Developmental Mechanisms (Evo/Devo).

John Godwin comes to IOS from North Carolina State University, where he is a Professor of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience within the Department of Biological Sciences.  His research interests are in the areas of molecular endocrinology, neurobiology, and behavior, with a primary focus on the mechanisms and evolution of animal behavior and sexuality.  He is particularly interested in applying neurobiological and genomic approaches to linking genes to behavioral and sexual phenotypes important for various adaptive challenges, including mating and coping with stressors.  He combines field and laboratory research, studying bluehead wrasses, southern flounders, and zebrafish, and he has an extensive track-record teaching, training, and mentoring undergraduate students.  He has served as rotating Program Director in the Neural Systems Cluster previously, and IOS is very pleased that he is back.

Ted Morgan first joined NSF as a rotator in the PSS cluster in 2017 wherehe helped to manage the animal side of the Integrative Ecological Physiology program. Ted joined NSF from Kansas State University, where he was most recently a Professor in the Division of Biology. Ted’s research focuses on evolutionary and physiological genomics of adaptive traits, primarily in the fruit fly, Drosophila. As a rotator, Ted contributed significantly to the launching of the EDGE (Enabling Discovery through GEnomic Tools) program, and he spearheaded IOS involvement with other agencies on comparative genomics. After returning to Kansas State for almost a year as part-time Expert, Ted joined IOS as a permanent Program Director in August 2020.

Welcome IOS’ newest Science Assistant!

Donaven McLaurin is IOS’ newest Science Assistant. He is an ecologist by training with a research focus on understanding how the composition of longleaf pine forests in Mississippi has changed from the time of Euro-American settlement to present day. In addition to his ecological interests, he also has a background in science education research. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at the University of Southern Mississippi. Beyond science, Donaven is passionate about advancing diversity and inclusion within Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) through the creation of initiatives that promote the persistence of groups that are traditionally underrepresented in these disciplines. These passions were birthed from his experiences and the support that he received through NSF’s Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program and as a McNair Scholar.

IOS wishes a fond farewell and thank you to Program Specialist Kevin Nguyen!

We will certainly miss working with Kevin because he was such a valuable member of the IOS team.  We appreciated his resourcefulness and professionalism and wish him the best in the future. Kevin will stay at NSF but has moved to the Directorate for Engineering (ENG) in the Division of Civil, Mechanical, and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI).  With Kevin’s ability to solve problems and his can-do attitude IOS is confident that he will excel in his new environment.  Although he is a phone call away, we look forward to seeing him around the agency be it virtually or in-person. 

IOS wishes a fond farewell and a big Thank You to Program Director Anthea Letsou!

Anthea Letsou returnedto her position as Professor of Human Genetics at University of Utah School of Bioscience, after serving as a part-time rotator in the Developmental Systems Cluster. Anthea’s research focuses on understanding basic mechanisms of animal development using Drosophila and other model systems; she also has a breadth of research and teaching experience across all systems to ask fundamental biological questions with translational impact.  Anthea first served as a rotator from 2014 through 2017, when she helped launch the EDGE program while also serving as Science Advisor in IOS. We were fortunate that Anthea could serve again in the past year as a part-time rotator managing the animal developmental mechanisms program. She returned to her position in Utah in August of 2020.