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Gross Named New Director of NIMBioS

June 29, 2017

Louis Gross.

KNOXVILLE—Louis J. Gross has been named the new director of the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS), effective July 1, 2017.

Gross is a distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and mathematics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the founding director of NIMBioS and director of the Institute for Environmental Modeling (TIEM). His research focuses on computational and mathematical ecology, with applications to plant ecology, conservation biology, natural resource management, and landscape ecology.

While at NIMBioS, Gross will continue his responsibilities as TIEM director and as a UT faculty member.

Colleen B. Jonsson, who has served as director since January 2015, will be moving to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis where she has accepted a faculty position as professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Biochemistry, Van Vleet Chair of Excellence in Virology. She will also serve as director of the Regional Biocontainment Laboratory.

NIMBioS was founded in 2008 as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Synthesis Center supported through NSF's Biological Sciences Directorate via a Cooperative Agreement with UT Knoxville totaling more than $35 million over ten years.

Since its first event in spring 2009, NIMBioS has engaged more than 6,000 scientists and experts from over 50 countries in over 400 projects proposed by the science community. NIMBioS activities have led to the publication of over 700 peer-reviewed scientific articles in a variety of disciplines, from anthropology to zoology. Participation in NIMBioS activities has also led to numerous grant submissions to advance research ideas generated by involvement in those activities. One of the outcomes of NIMBioS is the National Institute for STEM Evaluation and Research, which collaborates on program evaluation with a wide array of projects around the country.

The NSF award that established NIMBioS ends August 31, 2018, following which NIMBioS will be sustained by UT Knoxville and a variety of funding sources.

"As NIMBioS Director, I look forward to helping ensure that this NSF Synthesis Center continues as the premier center that fosters fascinating biology research and education at the interface with quantitative methods," Gross said.

"NIMBioS is one of our areas of distinction," said UT Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Taylor Eighmy. "It has done excellent work around faculty hires, growth in faculty affiliates, education, outreach, diversity, evaluation, and sustainability. In recent conversations with NSF, the thought was offered that since inception, NIMBioS has been 'wildly successful.' This speaks to the collective great work that NIMBioS has undertaken to make it the best synthesis center in the NSF portfolio."


The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis is an NSF-supported center that brings together researchers from around the world to collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to investigate solutions to basic and applied problems in the life sciences.

Catherine Crawley, NIMBioS, +1-865-974-9350,

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From 2008 until early 2021, NIMBioS was supported by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
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