Polar Research Board Members

Julie Brigham-Grette (Chair) is a Professor in the Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she has been since 1987 and served as Associate Department Head from 1998–2004; she was elected department head in 2013. Her research expertise is in Arctic marine and terrestrial paleoclimate records of late Cenozoic to recent eras, the evolution of the Arctic climate especially in the Bering Strait region, and Lake El'gygytgyn drilling in northeastern Russia. She has a Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. She served as a Member of the Arctic Logistics Task Force for NSF's Office of Polar Programs from 1996–1999 and 2000–2003, and as a member of NSF-OPP Office Advisory Council, 2002–2004. She chaired the U.S. scientific delegation to Svalbard for shared Norwegian/U.S. scientific collaborations and logistical platforms, 1999–2000; served two terms as chair of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme's Science Steering Committee on Past Global Change (PAGES), 2004–2008; as president of the American Quaternary Association, 2004–2006; as U.S. representative to the International Continental Drilling Program, 2003–2008; as U.S. co-chief scientist of the Lake El'gygytgyn Drilling Project, 2000 to present; as co-chair, Science Steering Committee of Drilling, Observation and Sampling of the Earth's Continental Crust, 2010 to present; and as Chair of the AGU Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology Focus Group, 2010 to 2012. She is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. She was a member of the NRC Committee on Role and Future Use of the U.S. Icebreaker Fleet; and has been a member of the NRC Polar Research Board since 2008.

Betsy Baker is Executive Director of the North Pacific Research Board in Anchorage, Alaska, and Distinguished Scholar at Vermont Law School.  Dr. Baker's immersion in Arctic law and policy, and engagement with the Arctic science community flows from her work on law of the sea, international environmental law, and Canadian-U.S. cooperation. She was a science crew member on the U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy for two Arctic extended continental shelf mapping deployments in 2008-2009, a Research Fellow in the Institute of Arctic Studies at Dartmouth College, and an Alexander von Humboldt Chancellor's Fellow in Germany. Her research and policy work includes commissioned papers on international cooperation in science and policy in the Central Arctic Ocean; comparative offshore oil and gas regulation for the Inuit Circumpolar Conference and Inuit Leaders Summit on Resource Development; and proposed Common Precepts for Marine Scientific Research Access to the Arctic Ocean. For the Arctic Council, she co-led the 2013 Arctic Ocean Review, a PAME survey of international agreements relevant to the Arctic Ocean. She is an affiliated professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks International Arctic Research Center and the University of Washington School of Law.

Lawson W. Brigham is a Distinguished Fellow and Faculty in the International Arctic Research Center of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He is also a Fellow at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy's Center for Arctic Study and Policy. During 2005-2009 he was chair of the Arctic Council’s Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment and Vice Chair of the Council’s working group on Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment. Dr. Brigham was a career U.S. Coast Guard officer, retiring with the rank of Captain. He served at sea in command of four Coast Guard cutters including the polar icebreaker Polar Sea sailing in Alaskan, Arctic & Antarctic waters; he also served as Chief of Strategic Planning in Washington, DC. He has participated in more than 15 Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. Dr. Brigham has been a research fellow at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, a faculty member of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and the Naval Postgraduate School, and Deputy Director of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission. He holds graduate degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (MS) and the University of Cambridge (MPhil & PhD). His research interests for more than three decades have focused on the Soviet/Russian maritime Arctic, Arctic climate change, marine transportation, sea ice remote sensing, Arctic environmental protection, and polar geopolitics.

Pablo Clemente-Colón is an Oceanographer retired from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2017 after 38 years of federal service. While at NOAA, he also served as Chief Scientist of the U.S. National Ice Center, a joint agency formed by NOAA, Navy, and the U.S. Coast Guard, where he functioned as Senior Scientific Advisor. Dr. Clemente-Colón has participated in icebreaking missions and sea ice field experiments in the Arctic including U.S.-Canada Joint Extended Continental Shelf mapping missions and has supported ice and snow monitoring research and operations globally. He was a contributor to the Arctic Council Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment 2009 Report and has been instrumental in the resurgence and organization of the biennial Symposia on the Impacts of an Ice-Diminishing Arctic on Naval and Maritime Operations since 2007. He presently serves as Advisor to the U.S. Arctic Research Commission and has continued his support of the International Arctic Buoy Programme and the International Programme for Antarctic Buoys.

Sara B. Das is an Associate Scientist in the Geology and Geophysics Department at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Dr. Das received her Ph.D. in Geosciences from Pennsylvania State University in 2003 (a student of Richard Alley). Her research interests are in the reconstruction of paleoclimates from ice-cores; Holocene climate variability; the deglaciation of the West Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets; controls on ice sheet surface melting, mass balance and ice dynamics; the role of the Greenland Ice Sheet and West Antarctic Ice Sheet in sea level rise; development of remote sensing and field methods to investigate ice sheet processes and recent change; exploring the interaction between the coupled cryosphere-atmosphere-ocean systems; and investigating biogeochemical processes in polar environments. She served on the committee for the NRC study Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean (2011).

Michael Gooseff is an Associate Professor in the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) and in the Department of Civil Architectural & Environmental Engineering at the University of Colorado. He is currently the Lead Principal Investigator of the McMurdo Dry Valleys LTER project and the Co-Director of the Hydrologic Sciences Graduate Program at Colorado University. Dr. Gooseff earned his his PhD in Civil Engineering at University of Colorado, where his research focused on stream-groundwater exchanges in glacial meltwater streams of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Dr. Gooseff conducts on-going research in Arctic Alaska, mostly from the Toolik Field Station, and continues research in Antarctica. Dr. Gooseff has served on the editorial boards of Eos, Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, Water Resources Research, and WIRES Water. He is also on the Board of Directors of the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc, and he is active with the Hydrology Section of the American Geophysical Union. In 2011, he Chaired an NSF review committee for Office of Polar Programs.

Nagruk Harcharek, an Alaskan Native, was born and raised in Utqiaġvik, Alaska. He attended Honolulu Community College and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University where he attained his Associates in Science and Bachelors of Science and Commercial Pilot Certificates. He worked as a commercial pilot for 3 years in Western, Alaska before joining UIC Science, LLC as a project Manager. He is now the Director of Barrow Operations and VP of UIC Lands.

Brendan Kelly is the Executive Director of the Science Steering Committee of the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH) program. His career in Arctic research and policy includes serving on the faculty and administration of the University of Alaska, as a research scientist with NOAA's National Marine Mammal Laboratory, Deputy Director of Arctic Sciences at the National Science Foundation, Chief Scientist of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Assistant Director for Polar Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Dr. Kelly has held leadership positions at the University of Alaska campuses, advised Alaska Native organizations on sea otter and harbor seal management, and spoken widely on climate change issues. In Alaska, he worked extensively with indigenous peoples to understand the effects that environmental change is having on their communities. He has been studying marine mammals in the Pacific, Atlantic, Southern, and Arctic oceans for over 36 years and is a charter member of the Society for Marine Mammalogy. He has a M.S. from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and a Ph.D. from Purdue University.

John Kovac is Associate Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Harvard University. His cosmology research focuses on observations of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) to reveal signatures of the physics that drove the birth of the universe, the creation of its structure, and its present-day expansion. His research over the past two decades has involved the design, deployment, and operation of multiple generations of radio telescopes at the Amundsen-Scott Station at the South Pole. He has authored over 30 refereed publications on his research and has co-organized meetings on astrophysics from Antarctica including NSF workshops, SCAR working groups, and the IAU 2012 special Symposium. He is a 2011 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow and a recipient of the NSF Career Award.

Claire L. Parkinson has been a climatologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center since July 1978 and a Senior Fellow at Goddard since 2005. Her research emphasis is on polar sea ice and climate change, as examined largely through satellite observations. Claire has developed a computer model of sea ice, has done field work in the Arctic and Antarctic, and is the lead author of an atlas of Arctic sea ice from satellite data and a coauthor of two other sea ice atlases. Since May 1993, Claire has additionally been Project Scientist for the Aqua satellite, which transmits data on many atmospheric, ocean, land, and ice variables. She has written books on satellite Earth observations, climate change, and the history of science, and she led an outreach effort that produced the book Women of Goddard: Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Claire is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Philosophical Society, and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and Phi Beta Kappa.

Kristen St. John is a Professor of Geology at James Madison University. She earned an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Geoscience from The Ohio State University. Her research focuses on marine sediment records of iceberg and sea ice-rafted sediments, and on geoscience education. An active researcher in the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), she was a marine sedimentologist for several expeditions, and worked on samples from the Arctic, North Atlantic, and North Pacific. She is the co-chief scientist for the future Arctic Ocean Paleoceanography expedition (Arc-OP, IODP Exp. 377). Currently, she is serving on the U.S. Steering Committee for Scientific Ocean Drilling, and in the past year was a co-leader of the IODP NEXT workshop and the IODP workshop on Scientific Exploration of the Arctic and North Pacific. She was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Geoscience Education from 2012-2017.

Theodore A. Scambos is a Senior Research Scientist and Lead for NSIDC Science Team at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). His areas of expertise include glaciology; remote sensing of the poles; climate change effects on the cryosphere; and Antarctic history. Just a few of his current research activities include: mapping Antarctic ice flow using Landsat satellites and evaluating changes in Antarctic ice flux to the ocean; evaluating the ability of images and laser altimetry to detect water movement beneath the ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland; understanding the processes that lead to rapid ice-shelf retreat; and combining laser altimetry data with high-resolution images to create improved digital elevation models of the ice sheets. He serves as Science Editor for the Journal of Glaciology, and is a member of American Geophysical Union (AGU), the International Glaciology Society (IGS), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He recently served on the NASEM committee for "A Strategic Vision for Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research." He is currently helping to lead a major new NSF-supported research campaign on "The Future of Thwaites Glacier and its Contribution to Sea-level Rise," and he leads the planning of yearly conference of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet research community. He has a PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Lynne Talley is a Distinguished Professor of Physical Oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography,University of California, San Diego. Talley’s research focuses on the general circulation of the ocean and the role of various oceanic and atmospheric conditions that affect ocean currents and property distributions, and the role of the ocean in climate. Her work involves analysis of data from most of the world’s oceans, depicting the movement of heat, salinity, and water masses, and the formation of water masses, particularly in subpolar regions. Her particular emphasis over the last decade has been Southern Ocean processes. She is one of the principal investigators for the NSF-funded Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling (SOCCOM) program, and has led its observational team in building a Southern Ocean network of biogeochemical Argo floats. Talley was a lead author of the IPCC 4th and 5th Assessment Reports Working Group I chapters on ocean observations. She has participated in multiple National Academies studies, including the 2017 Sustaining Ocean Observations to Understand Future Changes in Earth’s Climate, and Future Science Opportunities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean (2011).

Merritt Turetsky has more than 20 years of experience working in boreal and arctic ecosystems. Her work contributes to theoretical predictions of ecosystem structure and function, but it also applies to regulation of carbon in a global change world. Dr. Turetsky has played leading roles in the Permafrost Carbon Network, NASA's ABoVE campaign, and the recently formed Canadian Permafrost Association. She sits on the executive committees of several international research networks and was selected this year as a AAAS Leshner Science Engagement Fellow. Through her research and teaching, she hopes to train the next generation of scientists in the interdisciplinary skills required to tackle ongoing challenges in the north related to food and water security, energy sustainability, carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, and landscape change. [Starting on Jan. 1, 2020, Dr. Turetsky will become the new Director of the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado. Boulder]

Ross Virginia is a Professor of Environmental Science and Director of the Institute of Arctic Studies at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire. His research seeks to understand how climate change alters soil biodiversity and the cycling of carbon in Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems. He is co-lead scholar of the Fulbright Arctic Initiative and PI of the NSF Joint Science Education Project (Greenland) and the Joint Antarctic School Expedition (Chile, Antarctica) that seek to train and inspire the future generation of international polar scientists. He also studies the relationships between the disciplines of ecology, ecosystem science, and environmental law and policy. He is active in Arctic policy and global environmental issues as co-director of the University of the Arctic Institute for Arctic Policy, as a global fellow in the Wilson Center’s Polar Initiative, and as a member of the board of governors for Ilismatusarfik, the University of Greenland and the University of the Arctic.

Margaret Williams is Managing Director of World Wildlife Fund’s US Arctic field program, which entails leading a team of experts in climate change, wildlife biology, fisheries, oil and shipping, and communications to implement an international conservation strategy for the Bering, Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Ms. Williams has a special interest in Russian conservation. She speaks Russian, and was founder and editor for twelve years of the quarterly journal Russian Conservation News. Before joining WWF in 1997, she worked as a consultant to the World Bank on biodiversity projects in Russia and Central Asia. She received a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Smith College and a Master's degree from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Margaret is currently a member of the board of the Alaska Oceans Observing System. She is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Larry D. Hinzman (U.S. Delegate to IASC) is the Director of the International Research Center (IARC) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He holds a Ph.D. in Soil Physics from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His professional interests include hydrology, soil science and permafrost. Specifically, Dr. Hinzman has extensive experience in field research and modeling surface and subsurface flow, emphasis upon permafrost hydrology, arctic and subarctic meteorological processes. He possesses proficiency in thermal analysis through numerical and analytical solutions, and is an expert in soil physics and soil chemistry.

Matthew Druckenmiller (Alternate U.S. Delegate to IASC) is a Research Associate at the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Dr. Druckenmiller earned his doctorate in 2011 from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, where he combined geophysical monitoring with local knowledge to study how Iñupiat communities use and rely on a changing sea-ice environment. Matthew joined Rutgers University in summer 2015 to support the Sea Ice Action Team, however, is based at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, CO. Previously, Matthew was a PACE (Postdocs Advancing Climate Expertise) Fellow at NSIDC where he collaborated with Alaska’s North Slope Borough to investigate the impacts of Arctic sea ice loss on bowhead whales. With long-held interests in science policy, he has served as a Science Policy Fellow at the National Academies’ Polar Research Board (2005), a project manager at the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (2006), and a AAAS Science Policy Fellow at the U.S. Agency for International Development (2013-2015).

Deneb Karentz (U.S. Delegate to SCAR) is a professor at the University of San Francisco in the Departments of Biology and Environmental Science. She is a marine biologist with expertise in plankton ecology and ultraviolet (UV) photobiology. Dr. Karentz has been involved in field research in Antarctica since 1986, has been a member of many committees that act in an advisory capacity to the US Antarctic Program, is an instructor for the NSF Antarctic Biology Course (since 1994), spent two years at NSF as the associate program manager for Biology and Medicine in the Office of Polar Programs, and currently serves as a science advisor for the US delegation to the Committee on Environmental Protection/Antarctic Treaty System.

Allan T. Weatherwax (alternate U.S. Delegate to SCAR) Ph.D., dean of the School of Science and Engineering, is senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Merrimack College. Formerly dean of science and professor of physics at Siena College, Weatherwax holds a Ph.D. in physics from Dartmouth College and a B.S. in mathematical physics from Binghamton University. He has been the principal investigator on numerous National Science Foundation and NASA grants, and is currently co-director of the Firefly satellite mission, which is exploring the mysteries of gamma rays produced by lightning discharge.