John E. Burris became president of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund in July 2008. He is the former president of Beloit College. Prior to his appointment at Beloit in 2000, Dr. Burris served for eight years as director and CEO of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Mass. From 1984 to 1992 he was at the National Research Council/National Academies where he served as the executive director of the Commission on Life Sciences.
A native of Wisconsin, he received an A.B. in biology from Harvard University in 1971, attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison in an M.D.-Ph.D. program, and received a Ph.D. in marine biology from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California-San Diego in 1976. An assistant/associate professor of biology at the Pennsylvania State University from 1976 to 1985, he held an adjunct professor appointment there until coming to Beloit. His research interests were in the areas of marine and terrestrial plant physiology and ecology.
He has served as president of the American Institute of Biological Sciences and is or has been a member of a number of distinguished scientific boards and advisory committees including the Grass Foundation, the Stazione Zoologica “Anton Dohrn” in Naples, Italy, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Radiation Effects Research Foundation in Hiroshima, Japan. He has also served as a consultant to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Science and Human Values.
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