Jo Handelsman, Ph.D.

Jo Handelsman, Ph.D.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Jo Handelsman is the Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Vilas Research Professo  and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor.

She previously served as a science advisor to President Barack Obama as the Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) where she served for 3 years until January 2017 and was on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin and Yale University before that.

Handelsman received her Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in molecular biology and has since authored over 200 scientific research publications, 30 editorials and 29 essays. She is responsible for groundbreaking studies in microbial communities and metagenomics. She is also widely recognized for her contributions to science education and diversity in science.

Notably, she received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from President Obama in 2011, and in 2012, Nature named her one of "ten people who mattered this year" for her research on gender bias in science. In 2019, Handelsman was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.