Serb, Jeanne

Director named for Iowa State Office of Biotechnology

By Chelsea Davis, Office of the Vice President for Research

Jeanne Serb has been appointed as the new director for Iowa State University’s Office of Biotechnology and chair of the Biotechnology Council.

Serb, associate professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology, will take the reins Jan. 1. Jim Reecy, who joined the Office of the Vice President for Research as an associate vice president for research this summer, will continue as the Office of Biotechnology director until Dec. 31.

Serb’s research focuses on the origin and evolution of traits in invertebrate systems. Her work fuses evolutionary biology and the genetic manipulation of light-sensitive proteins to understand how the eye has changed over time.

Since Serb joined Iowa State in 2005, she has been awarded a Bailey Research Career Development Award, and earned the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Early Achievement in Teaching Award and the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture’s Teaching Award of Merit.

The Office of Biotechnology, which reports to the Office of the Vice President for Research, advances biotechnology at Iowa State. Biotechnology builds on biological processes to develop technologies and products. The office facilitates and advances programs in research, education, and outreach that contribute to the goals of Iowa State University’s Strategic Plan in the area of research infrastructure for the biosciences.

The Biotechnology Council represents Iowa State’s academic colleges involved in biotechnology research, including agriculture and life sciences, human sciences, engineering, liberal arts and sciences, and veterinary medicine. The Biotechnology Council recommends new programs and provides input to the director and the Vice President for Research on the most effective way to use available funds.

The Office of Biotechnology’s 10 core service facilities support research from single molecules to whole tissues. Staff help university, industry, and government researchers at every stage of their research projects. The Office of Biotechnology’s facility staff teach a hands-on course in molecular biology techniques and, in most facilities, researchers can be trained to operate the instruments themselves. The 10 core service facilities, with equipment valued in excess of $14 million, typically serve about 780 on-campus and 280 off-campus researchers annually.

The Office of Biotechnology’s Biotechnology Outreach Education Center has trained more than 3,000 educators at biotechnology education training courses and has provided free materials and supplies to Iowa’s K-14 and extension educators for more than 300,000 Iowa students.