Microbiologist Rita Colwell has been nominated as deputy director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Today's announcement by the White House puts Colwell in line to succeed Anne Petersen, who left in September 1996, as the agency's chief financial officer and chief operating officer under NSF director Neal Lane.
The 63-year-old Colwell is president of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute and a professor at the university. She has been active on the national science policy scene, including stints as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (which publishes ScienceNOW) and the American Society for Microbiology. Her research involves marine biotechnology and the molecular genetics of marine and estuarine bacteria, as well as the microbiology of the Chesapeake Bay.
Colwell's name must be formally submitted to Congress; Senate approval, although not expected to be controversial, could take several months. Once confirmed, she will replace Joseph Bordogna, who has spent 17 months as acting director.