The JGI User Executive Committee (UEC) recently welcomed three new members earlier this month – Sneha Couvilion of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Chris Schadt of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Elizabeth “Lizzy” Wilbanks of the University of California, Santa Barbara. They join eight other JGI users already serving on the UEC – go here to view the full roster of members.
Couvilion is a staff scientist at PNNL and thrust lead on PNNL’s Soil Microbiome SFA. She serves as Secretary within the Microbial Ecology Section of the Ecological Society of America and is also a National Microbiome Data Collaborative (NMDC) Champion. As an early career investigator, she is committed to representing and advocating for early career users on the UEC. As a user of the JGI and the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, another DOE user facility, she will leverage her understanding of user facility operations and expertise in mass-spectrometry-based metabolomics and lipidomics to make recommendations to best support the JGI user community.
Schadt is an environmental microbiologist at ORNL and current chair of the Emerging Ecological Issues Committee for the Ecological Society of America. He’s interested in how microbes influence biogeochemical cycles in soils and sediments and plant-microbial interactions in crops. He has been a PI or Co-PI on five user projects with the JGI, as well as served on review panels for the JGI Community Science Program (CSP) proposals. He brings experience representative of the interests of the JGI’s broad user base, including both university and national laboratory researchers. This will help the JGI shape its programs, capabilities, and resources to best meet the broad base of user community needs.
Wilbanks is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at UCSB, where she leads a research group investigating the physiology and evolution of marine aggregates and biofilms. She credits the JGI user programs as having been instrumental to her early career success, and is currently a PI for both CSP New Investigator and large-scale CSP projects. Wilbanks has served on review panels for the JGI’s Functional Genomics CSP and the JGI-EMSL FICUS programs and brings expertise in metagenomics and novel applications for long-read DNA sequencing. As a UEC member, Wilbanks will advocate for programs supporting early career researchers and new users, advise on data release and sharing policies, and help develop programs to increase participation from minority-serving institutions in JGI user programs.
The UEC represents the JGI user community and is responsible for providing input and advice on JGI policies and practices that affect users and their access to technical capabilities JGI offers, as well as proposal review procedures and the organization of the JGI Annual Genomics of Energy & Meeting. Any investigator who has been an active user of the JGI at any time in the past two fiscal years is eligible for election to the UEC. Members serve three-year terms and can serve no more than two consecutive terms. At the close of the election period, Kathleen Greenham stepped down at the end of her term. In late 2023, the JGI launched a solicitation for nominations for three additional positions on the UEC. Twenty-seven JGI users were nominated, representing a breadth of institutions, research topics and career stages. The election period concluded on January 8, 2024.