Burgin selected as chair of Iowa State’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology

Amy Burgin
Amy Burgin

AMES, Iowa – Returning to her home state, Amy Burgin will become the next chair for Iowa State University’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology, effective Jan. 1, 2025.

Burgin will succeed Lynn Clark, who has served as the EEOB department’s interim chair since June 2021. Clark will continue in the interim department chair role through the fall 2024 semester.

“We are so thrilled that Dr. Burgin has accepted this position and look forward to the new and innovative ideas she will bring to the department,” said Daniel J. Robison, endowed dean’s chair of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “I also want to thank Dr. Clark for her excellent leadership and commitment to moving the department forward during these past three years.”

Burgin comes to Iowa State from the University of Kansas, where she is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and senior scientist for the Kansas Biological Survey and Center for Ecological Research.

"Dr. Burgin impressed us all with her vision for the department and her commitment to building on an already strong foundation,” said Benjamin C. Withers, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “The breadth and depth of the support expressed by the search committee and the department shows that they, too, recognize her experience and potential. Our thanks to Dr. Mark Hargrove for his leadership of the search, to the members of the search committee, and all those who participated in the search for ensuring that we have such a positive outcome."

Burgin has a bachelor’s degree in biology and environmental science from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She went on to earn her doctoral degree in zoology and ecology, evolutionary biology and behavior from Michigan State University and the Kellogg Biological Station.

Her research brings together the fields of microbial ecology, biogeochemistry and aquatic ecosystem ecology. Through her work, she seeks to better understand how streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands are influenced by human activities. Burgin has received nearly $10 million in grant funding for her work and has published 57 peer-reviewed papers related to water issues.

Burgin also has taught several undergraduate and graduate courses related to the ecology of rivers and lakes, scientific communication and careers in the environment.

In applying for the position at Iowa State, Burgin outlined a series of goals that will drive her efforts as department chair. These goals relate to sustaining existing research strengths, improving mentoring for faculty and students in the department, and enhancing engagement and communication efforts with the broader community to promote departmental activities and research.

“I am deeply honored to be entrusted as the next chair of the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology at Iowa State,” Burgin said. “I have deep roots in Iowa and care greatly about the people and communities that Iowa State serves. My goal is to build on the EEOB’s strong foundation by fostering an environment that promotes innovative research, comprehensive mentoring, and exemplary teaching and student training.”

The Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology is co-administered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Undergraduate students can pursue degrees in biology, environmental science or genetics within the department. Graduate students can select from several interdisciplinary programs leading to a master’s or doctoral degree.


Amy Burgin, burginam@ku.edu

Amy Juhnke, Liberal Arts and Sciences Communications, 515-294-0461, ajuhnke@iastate.edu

Whitney Baxter, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications, 515-294-2314, wjsager@iastate.edu