Discovery Files

Meet James L. Olds, the new head of NSF's Directorate for Biological Sciences

A conversation with James L. Olds

In October 2014, George Mason University Professor James L. Olds was selected to become Assistant Director (AD) for the Directorate for Biological Sciences (BIO) at the National Science Foundation (NSF).

In the accompanying video conversation, Olds discusses his professional passions and other aspects of his background, scientific challenges currently confronting biology and neuroscience, the importance of science communication, some reasons why he believes NSF is so successful and other related topics.

Olds brings to NSF a strong record of academic leadership and a commitment to interdisciplinary research. Before becoming BIO's AD, Olds was at George Mason University as director and chief academic unit officer at the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study and as the Shelley Krasnow University Professor of Molecular Neuroscience.

Under Olds' leadership at Krasnow, the International Decade of the Mind project started. This project helped shape President Obama's BRAIN Initiative.

Olds earned his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Amherst College and his doctorate in neuroscience from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

For more information about Olds' background, see NSF's press release announcing his selection as BIO AD and Olds's page on the George Mason University website.