Iowa State University professor appointed to President’s Science and Technology Advisors

Cathie Woteki
Cathie Woteki is one of 30 members appointed to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

AMES, Iowa — An Iowa State University professor has been appointed to a White House advisory group on science and technology.

Catherine Woteki, a professor of food science and human nutrition at Iowa State, was one of 30 members of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) announced today by President Biden.

PCAST is the sole body of advisors from outside the federal government charged with making science, technology and innovation policy recommendations to the President and the White House.

PCAST members are distinguished individuals from industry, academia and nonprofit organizations with a range of perspectives and expertise. They advise the President on policy matters where the understanding of science, technology and innovation is key. The council is co-chaired by Frances Arnold, Linus Pauling Professor of Chemical Engineering, Bioengineering and Biochemistry at California Institute Of Technology; Eric Lander, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and science advisor to the President; and Maria Zuber, vice president for research and E.A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Woteki is known internationally for her expertise in agriculture, food, nutrition, health and science policy from years of research leadership in government, industry and academia. She served as dean of Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of ISU’s Agriculture Experiment Station from 2002 to 2005.

She also currently has an appointment with the University of Virginia as a Visiting Distinguished Institute Professor with the Biocomplexity Institute.

Woteki served as the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Undersecretary for Research, Education and Economics and as USDA Chief Scientist from 2010 to 2016. She also was the USDA’s first undersecretary for food safety, serving from 1997 to 2001. From 1994 to 1996, she served as deputy associate director for science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

After her tenure as agriculture dean at Iowa State, Woteki served as Mars Inc.’s global director of scientific and regulatory affairs.

Woteki is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, one of four faculty in Iowa State’s history to be elected to that prestigious scientific group. She currently chairs the Division on Earth and Life Studies at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. She also is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Society for Nutrition.

She currently serves as president of the Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to promote a broader, comprehensive understanding of agriculture and enhance agriculture through increased scientific knowledge.

Her honors include induction into the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hall of Fame; the Henry A. Wallace Award from Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and the Lifetime Achievement and Service Award from Iowa State’s Seed Science Center.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Mary Washington College and a Ph.D. in human nutrition from Virginia Tech.