Cathie Woteki and White House
Biocomplexity Institute News

UVA Visiting Distinguished Institute Professor Cathie Woteki Appointed to President Biden’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

President Biden appointed Cathie Woteki, visiting distinguished institute professor in the Biocomplexity Institute at the University of Virginia, to serve as a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), the White House announced on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021.

Woteki will remain with the Biocomplexity Institute while serving on the council and will continue to contribute to the Institute’s research mission and team science approach to solving complex challenges in the world today. She joined the UVA Biocomplexity Institute in 2018.

“Cathie is a valued colleague, exceptional scholar and well-respected leader in science policy with a distinguished record of service in government and academia,” said Sallie Keller, Distinguished Professor in Biocomplexity and Director of the Social and Decision Analytics division in UVA’s Biocomplexity Institute.

“This appointment is a testament to her outstanding contributions to scientific endeavors that inform public policy focused on agriculture and food safety. We're fortunate to have Cathie working with us at the University of Virginia and the Biocomplexity Institute to help guide ongoing research in these critical areas. Her experience on the President's advisory board will only deepen and enrich her work on behalf of the Institute."

Woteki will serve with 30 others, including the nation’s leading scientists who directly advise the President and the Executive Office of the President. PCAST makes policy recommendations in the many areas where understanding of science, technology, and innovation is key to strengthening our economy and forming policy that works for the American people.

President Biden has charged this PCAST to “bring me ideas, not status reports.”

According to the White House announcement, President Biden’s PCAST reflects the President’s commitment to build an Administration that truly looks like America including more women, which make up half of the council, two of whom are PCAST co-chairs.

"I’m glad and honored to be a part of President Biden’s group of advisors," Woteki said. “I hope to make a valuable contribution toward improving nutrition security and food safety for all U.S. citizens as we tackle other priorities and challenges in the world today. Food systems sit at the nexus of some of our greatest challenges -- like climate change and transforming to a sustainable and health-promoting economy -- and we need policies informed by science.”

Woteki has spent her career dedicated to agriculture, food, nutrition, and health, and is nationally and internationally recognized from her years in government and academia. In addition to her role at UVA, Woteki is a Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University where she served as Dean of the College of Agriculture in the early 2000s.

No stranger to White House roles, Woteki served in the Clinton Administration as the first Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety and as Deputy Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). At OSTP, she co-authored the Clinton Administration's policy statement, Science in the National Interest. She also served as Undersecretary for United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Research, Education, and Economics mission area, as well as the department's chief scientist. Woteki co-edited a nutrition book entitled Eat for Life, which became a Book-of-the-Month-Club selection.

She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and currently chairs the Division of Earth and Life Studies at the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, and was inducted into the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, Hall of Fame in 2017.