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Checking in With Dean Forbes - December 2016

Dean Valery Forbes


A monthly Q&A with CBS Dean Valery Forbes on what she's excited about, what she's most looking forward to in the coming month, and what she wants to make sure the CBS community knows right now.

What are you most excited about at the moment?

Late last month, we announced the second call for applications for the Grand Challenges in Biology Postdoctoral Program, a program we launched last year designed to spark new collaborations across disciplines. From about 50 applications, we selected four projects for funding, and the scope and creativity they represent is inspiring. You can read about these projects on the CBS blog. Given that precedent, I am confident this new call will generate some great collaborations, and I hope everyone will help spread the word!

What are you most looking forward to in the coming weeks?

I have to say, I’m looking forward to the final event in our Petri Dish series of biology-themed conversations happening next Wednesday (December 7). So far, the conversations have been lively and engaging, but then that’s no surprise with the fabulous presenters from CBS and other colleges who participated in the first two events (Craig Packer, Jessica Hellmann and Aaron Doering, for the first Petri Dish and Cara Santelli, Dan Knights and Mike Sadowsky for the second). This time around, Marlene Zuk, Kristen Nelson and Tiffany Wolf will take on some of the thornier questions about how to use biology to solve problems without creating new ones. The success of the series really underscores the appetite for more engagement around science, and especially biology, which is so central to many of our greatest challenges.

What do you want to make sure the CBS community knows right now?

I know many members of the CBS community are considering what the post-election future holds for us as a society and, in particular, us as scientists. I think it’s more essential than ever to reach beyond the lecture hall and the lab to engage the public on the importance of science. I firmly believe that decisions and policies based on good science are better decisions and policies than those that are not. As scientists, we are uniquely positioned to demonstrate and articulate how advances in scientific understanding improve human health, enhance food and energy security, and contribute to addressing climate change impacts and a host of other environmental challenges. Facts and data actually do matter.

AnythingJohn S. Anderson else on your mind?

Just that I'd like to extend a big “thank you” to everyone who made our first foray into Give to the Max Day a success including (unsurprisingly) John S. Anderson who was a tremendously good sport in helping us with our campaign. I love this photo of John, and so did lots of other people. We exceeded our $10,000 goal, which means more money to support undergraduate scholarships. Thank you all for your generosity!


November, 2016