Jeanne VanBriesen to Lead the NSF’s Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems

Jeanne M. VanBriesen, the Duquesne Light Company Professor in the departments of civil and environmental engineering and engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, has been appointed to lead the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental and Transport Systems at the National Science Foundation.

“This role has a direct parallel to my work over the past decade leading faculty teams and collaborating to advance science and the mission of NSF,” said Professor VanBriesen. “When I approached CMU leadership about my considering this opportunity, they were very supportive — not surprising as CMU values faculty service to the research community.”

Dr. VanBriesen joined Carnegie Mellon in 1999 as an assistant professor and was awarded the Duquesne Light Company chair in 2014. She recently served as the university’s vice provost for faculty and previously served as chair of the Faculty Senate. Dr. VanBriesen’s research focuses on the biodegradation and thermodynamics of microbial systems, and she has published more than 70 journal articles over the course of her career.

A native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, Dr. VanBriesen attended Northwestern University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in education. She then taught chemistry and physics at high schools in Chicago and upstate New York and that experience furthered her interest in environmental safety. She then returned to Northwestern where she earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in environmental engineering.

Thanks to the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, which allows the temporary assignment of university faculty to agencies of the federal government, Dr. VanBriesen can fulfill her duties at the National Science Foundation while remaining on the Carnegie Mellon faculty. This will enable Professor VanBriesen to continue to mentor her four current Ph.D. students.

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