Jo Handelsman

Jo Handelsman is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor in the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at Yale University.  She served on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1985 until moving to Yale in 2010.  Her research focuses on the genetic and functional diversity of microorganisms in soil and insect gut communities.  She is one of the pioneers of functional metagenomics, an approach to accessing the genetic potential of unculturable bacteria in environmental samples for discovery of novel microbial products, and she recently served as President of the American Society for Microbiology.  In addition to her research program, Dr. Handelsman is also known internationally for her efforts to improve science education and increase the participation of women and minorities in science at the university level.  Her leadership in education led to her appointment as the first President of the Rosalind Franklin Society; her service on the National Academies’ panel that wrote the 2006 report, “Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering”; her selection by President Barack Obama to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring; her position as cochair of a working group that produced the 2012 report to the President, “Engage to Excel: Producing One Million Additional College Graduates with Degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics,” about improving STEM education in postsecondary education; and Nature listing her as one of the “ten people who mattered” in 2012 for her research on gender bias in science.

Related Titles