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Science Philanthropy Alliance Welcomes Two New External Science Advisors

The Science Philanthropy Alliance today announced the addition of two external science advisors. Margaret Leinen, Ph.D., and Carla J. Shatz, Ph.D., will join the Alliance’s existing cadre of distinguished external science advisors in advancing the organization’s mission to expand philanthropic support for discovery science.

“We are excited to have Margaret and Carla join our team and look forward to the knowledge and expertise they bring,” said France Córdova, Alliance president. “The Alliance is fortunate to add two highly accomplished researchers to guide philanthropists in supporting impactful basic research.”

Margaret Leinen, Ph.D.

Throughout her career, Leinen has earned numerous achievements for her work as an ocean biogeochemist and paleoceanographer, including serving as assistant director for geosciences at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) from 2000-2007. She currently is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Oceanography Society, organizations for which she previously served as president, and the AAAS Section on Atmospheric and Hydrospeheric Science. Leinen also serves as co-chair of the Decade Advisory Board for the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and is the director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and vice chancellor for marine science at the University of California, San Diego.

“Margaret is an accomplished scientist and administrator with an impressive resume, including time spent as the assistant director for geosciences at the National Science Foundation,” said Córdova, who served as president of NSF from 2014 to 2020. “Her credibility and reputation as a researcher and science leader will be a crucial asset in expanding philanthropic support for ocean science, environmental science and geoscience in general.”

Carla J. Shatz, Ph.D.

With a distinguished career that includes being named the first woman chair of the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School, Carla Shatz has dedicated decades to understanding the dynamic interplay between genes and the environment that shapes brain circuits. Her groundbreaking research has earned her numerous accolades, including being elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Royal Society of London. Shatz has been the recipient of the Gruber Neuroscience Prize, the Champalimaud Vision Prize and the Kavli Prize in Neuroscience. In 2018, she received the Harvey Prize in Science and Technology from the Technion Israel Institute of Technology. She currently serves as the Sapp Family Provostial Professor of Biology and Neurobiology and the Catherine Holman Johnson Directorship of Bio-X at Stanford University.

“Carla has been an inspiration for scientists throughout her career and continues to distinguish herself as an expert in neuroscience,” said Córdova. “Her outstanding knowledge of this field will enhance the work of the Alliance and the support we provide to our members and advisees as they explore the most effective ways to fund discovery science.”

Margaret Leinen and Carla Shatz join fellow senior advisors Thomas R. Cech, Ph.D., Fleming Crim, Ph.D., Marc Kastner, Ph.D., and Shirley M. Tilghman, Ph.D., and succeed David Baltimore, Ph.D., and Robert Tijan, Ph.D., who each provided several years of advice to the Alliance. The firsthand knowledge of science advisors plays a critical role in the support the Alliance provides to philanthropists.