Jo Handelsman

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Jo Handelsman
Jo Handelsman official photo.jpg
Jo Emily Handelsman

(1959-03-19) March 19, 1959 (age 59)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Alma materCornell University
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Scientific career
InstitutionsYale University
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Cornell University

Jo Emily Handelsman (born March 19, 1959 in New York City) is the Director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at University of Wisconsin–Madison.[1] Dr. Handelsman was appointed by President Barack Obama as the Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where she served for three years until January 2017.[2] She has been editor-in-chief of the academic journal DNA and Cell Biology and author of books on scientific education, most notably Scientific Teaching.[3][4][5]


Handelsman earned her Bachelor of Science degree in agronomy from Cornell University in 1979 and her Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1984.[6]


Handelsman secured a faculty position in plant pathology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1985. She remained at Wisconsin until 2009, and then took a position at the Yale University Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology in 2010.[3][4][7] Her research involves the study of microorganisms present in soil and insect gut.[3] She is responsible for coining the term metagenomics[8] and is particularly known for her work in pioneering the use of functional metagenomics to study antibiotic resistance.[9] She has published books and held workshops on scientific teaching, for which she is recognized nationally.[4]

She is an active researcher and advocate of women in science issues. One of Handelsman's seminal studies found that the gender of a name on a science resume affected a professor's inclination to hire, mentor, and pay applicants for a lab position.[10] She was co-director of the Women in Science and Engineering Leadership Institute[11][12] and was the first president of the Rosalind Franklin Society.[3][13] In 2011 she was awarded the Presidential Award for Science Mentoring, which recognizes mentors in science or engineering.[14]


  • Scientific Teaching (2006) (ISBN 978-1429201889)
  • Entering Mentoring:A Seminar to Train a New Generation of Scientists (2008) (ISBN 978-0981516110)


  1. ^ "Jo Handelsman named director of Wisconsin Institute for Discovery". Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  2. ^ OSTP Website
  3. ^ a b c d "Jo Handelsman, PhD Profile". Yale School of Medicine. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
  4. ^ a b c "Jo Handelsman, Ph.D." Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
  5. ^ Brumfiel, G.; Tollefson, J.; Hand, E.; Baker, M.; Cyranoski, D.; Shen, H.; Van Noorden, R.; Nosengo, N.; et al. (2012). "366 days: Nature's 10". Nature. 492 (7429): 335–343. Bibcode:2012Natur.492..335.. doi:10.1038/492335a. PMID 23257862.
  6. ^ "Curriculum vitae" (PDF). The University of New Hampshire. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
  7. ^ Gellman, Lindsay (February 1, 2010). "Prof. to push diversity". Yale Daily News. Retrieved 10 September 2010.
  8. ^ Handelsman, J.; Rondon, M. R.; Brady, S. F.; Clardy, J.; Goodman, R. M. (1998). "Molecular biological access to the chemistry of unknown soil microbes: A new frontier for natural products". Chemistry & Biology. 5 (10): R245–R249. doi:10.1016/S1074-5521(98)90108-9. PMID 9818143.
  9. ^ Riesenfeld, C. S.; Goodman, R. M.; Handelsman, J. (2004). "Uncultured soil bacteria are a reservoir of new antibiotic resistance genes". Environmental Microbiology. 6 (9): 981. doi:10.1111/j.1462-2920.2004.00664.x.
  10. ^ Moss-Racusin, Corinne; et al. (2012). "Science faculty's subtle gender biases favor male students". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 109 (41): 16474. Bibcode:2012PNAS..10916474M. doi:10.1073/pnas.1211286109. PMC 3478626. Retrieved 2017-08-13.CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link)
  11. ^ "Despite Gains, Women Still Face Bias in Science Careers". Newswise, Inc. 2005-08-15. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  12. ^ "WISELI". Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. Retrieved 17 January 2011.
  13. ^ "Rosalind Franklin Society". Rosalind Franklin Society. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  14. ^ "Yale's Jo Handelsman Receives Presidential Award for Science Mentoring". Yale University. January 21, 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2012.

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