Speaker Biographies

Cherry Murray – Event Chair

Cherry Murray, professor of physics at the University of Arizona, is deputy director of research at Biosphere 2. She obtained BS and PhD degrees in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her work has included experimental condensed matter, surface physics, nanotechnology, telecommunications networks, national security and energy policy, science diplomacy and global sustainable development. 

From 1978 to 2004, Murray held research and executive positions at Bell Laboratories, eventually becoming senior vice president for physical sciences and wireless research. She then served at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as principal associate director for science and technology from 2004 to 2009. She was dean of Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences from 2009 until 2014. 

Murray served as the director of the US Department of Energy Office of Science, from 2015 until 2017, overseeing $6 billion in competitive scientific research as well as the management of 10 national laboratories. She then became Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy and professor of physics at Harvard until her retirement in 2019.

Murray is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She serves as co-chair of the InterAcademy Partnership and co-chair of the United Nations 10-Member Group in support of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism. She has received the US National Medal of Technology and Innovation as well as the American Physical Society Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award and George E. Pake Prize. 

David W. Hahn – Host

David Hahn is the Craig M. Berge Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Arizona. He is an accomplished mechanical engineer, specializing in thermal sciences and laser-based diagnostics, including renewable energy and biophotonics. He has more than two decades of experience in higher education, national agencies and laboratories, and he is a champion of diversity in engineering.

He joins the University of Arizona after a 20-year career at the University of Florida, where he served most recently as chair of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Under his leadership, the university built a 4,000-square-foot student design center, his department grew to the largest on campus in terms of student enrollment, and the female student population in mechanical and aerospace engineering increased to 20%, about 50% above the national average.

He was the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering 2007-2008 Teacher/Scholar of the Year and 2009-2010 Advisor/Mentor of the Year, and he received the UF Society of Women Engineers 2016-2017 Outstanding Support of Women in Engineering Award. Hahn is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Optical Society and the Society for Applied Spectroscopy.

Hahn began his research career as an NRC postdoctoral associate in the electro-optics branch of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Center for Devices and Radiological Health. He then spent four years at Sandia National Laboratories, first as a postdoctoral researcher and then as a member of the technical staff.

Hahn studied mechanical engineering at Louisiana State University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in 1986 and a doctorate in 1992. In 2014 he received the Alumni Achievement Award from his home department.

James L. Buizer – Moderator

Jim Buizer serves as interim director of the Arizona Institutes for Resilience at the University of Arizona. He is professor of climate adaptation and international development in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment; a research scientist in the Arid Lands, Water, and People Program; and a faculty affiliate to the Graduate Interdisciplinary Program in Global Change.

His research focuses on incorporating scientific findings of projected impacts of climate variability and change into development decisions. He has brought this work to 20 countries across the globe over his career.

From 2003-2011 Jim served as senior advisor for institutional transformation to the president at Arizona State University, where he led the design and establishment of the Global Institute of Sustainability and its degree-granting School of Sustainability. Prior to ASU, Jim was director of the Climate and Societal Interactions Division at NOAA in Washington, D.C., where he was responsible for designing and leading interdisciplinary research and applications programs positioned at the climate and societal interface.

Jim serves as immediate past chairman for the board of directors at Second Nature, Inc.. He also sits on the board of directors at the National Council for Science and the Environment and several other national environmental non-profit organizations. He served in numerous leadership roles for the production of the Third National Climate Assessment and was a lead author of the Climate Effects on U.S. International Interests Chapter of the Fourth National Climate Assessment. He has published extensively on institutionalizing the science-to-action interface, integrating climate information into development decision processes, and climate assessments.

He attended the University of Washington, where he received a BS in oceanography and an MMA in marine resource economics and science policy.

Joaquin Ruiz – Moderator

Joaquin Ruiz is the vice president of global environmental futures at the University of Arizona. He also serves as professor of geochemistry, director of Biosphere 2, and for 20 years, he was dean of the College of Science.

His interdisciplinary research focuses on the use of radiogenic and heavy stable isotopes to study the evolution of the crust and mantle through time, the genesis of ore deposits, paleogeography, and environmental and archeological problems.

He has done collaborative research on the genesis of goldfields in South Africa, and he studied mantle metasomatism and crustal contamination in arc magmatism in Chile, Mexico and the Cascade mountain range. He also traced archeological objects in Mesoamerica and contamination of rivers in Mexico and Arizona. He has researched Cu leaching in base metal deposits, soil formation in Hawaii, and the tectonic evolution of Mexico during the formation of Rodinia and Pangea.

He also oversees a suite of laboratories dedicated to chemistry, thermal ionization radiogenic isotope mass spectrometry and Multicollector ICPMS. 


Joel L. Cuello

Joel Cuello is a professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering and director of the Global Initiative for Strategic Agriculture in Dry Lands at the University of Arizona.

A globally recognized expert in the engineering of sustainable biological and agricultural systems, his technical expertise in both engineering and biology provides the platform for engineering designs in various agricultural and biological systems, with emphasis on optimizing biological and agricultural productivities while fostering resource sustainability and environmental protection. 

He has designed, constructed and implemented varied types of engineered agricultural or biological systems. These include those applied in bioregenerative space life support, hydroponics, tissue culture, industrial mass production of algae, nutraceuticals, pharmaceuticals, and plant cell and microbial cultures for production of biomass. He is the principal inventor of the patented algae photobioreactor series, and he is the creator of the minimally structured, modular and prefabricated vertical farm design.

His did postdoctoral research in the Controlled Ecological Life Support System Division at NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center. He earned his PhD in agricultural and biological engineering, with a minor in chemical engineering, from Pennsylvania State University. He also earned two MS degrees from the school in agricultural and biological engineering and plant physiology. He obtained his BS in agricultural engineering from the University of the Philippines at Los Banos. 

Robin Fears

Robin Fears (United Kingdom) has 29 years of experience in the UK pharmaceutical industry in R&D. The first 20 years were focused on cardiovascular disease and neurosciences, from discovery through to marketed product. The final nine years of this industry experience was occupied in setting up and leading a policy group for R&D in Europe.

While in industry, he served on committees advising UK and EU trade associations, UK government, research councils, university groups and the European Commission and he was honorary senior fellow at the School of Public Policy, University College London.

Since leaving the UK pharmaceutical sector, he has worked as advisor to various bodies including academies, universities, businesses and parliamentary groups on issues relating to biomedical science and innovation within the European policy environment. He has provided biosciences support to EASAC since 2002.

Moti Harari

Moti Harari is the flowers and garden plants head researcher for Negev-Arava Research & Development. His research includes development of pearl millet varieties for arid zone irrigated conditions, plant extraction and natural food additives. He has also studied irrigation, perfumes and medicinal substances, flower seed production and breeding, development of evergreen pomegranate varieties and off-seasonal production for export.

He served as managing director for Kibbutz Yotvata, where he was responsible for the agricultural and agroindustrial activities of the kibbutz, located in the most arid zone of Israel. He was also director of the Arava Research Station at Yotvata, researching mechanical harvesting, export, supply, fertilization and irrigation of crops. 

He also served as the farm manager for the Chieng Mai Food Complex in Thailand, overseeing 30,000 farmers and 1,000 metrics tons of fruit and vegetables daily. Prior to that, he was vegetable farm advisor, leading research and development projects for the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture in the Southern Jordan Valley, Arava region and Sinai Southern coastal areas.

Mohamed Hassan

Mohamed Hassan (Sudan) serves as vice chair of the Scientific Group. He is president of The World Academy of Sciences, Italy; president of the Sudanese National Academy of Sciences; chairman of the Governing Council of the United Nations Technology Bank, Turkey; and chairman of the International Advisory Board of the Center for Development Research, Germany. 

He has served as professor and dean of the School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Khartoum; president of the InterAcademy Partnership; founding executive director of TWAS; president of the African Academy of Sciences; founding president of the Network of African Science Academies; chairman of the Council of the United Nations University; and chairman of the Honorary Presidential Advisory Council for Science and Technology, Nigeria. 

Among his honors, he has received Comendator, Grand Cross, and National Order of Scientific Merit, Brazil; and he was named Officer, Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. He is a recipient of the G77 Leadership Award and the Abdus Salam Medal for Science and Technology. He is a member of eleven merit-based academies of science, which include the Academy of Sciences of South Africa, the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and the Hassan II Academy of Science and Technology.

Sheryl L. Hendriks

Sheryl L. Hendriks (South Africa) is head of department and professor of food security at the Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development in the University of Pretoria. There, she also serves as director of the Institute for Food, Nutrition and Well-being.

She is a food security policy expert with extensive experience in policy analysis and program design. Her research focuses on food security and nutrition policy analysis and monitoring and evaluation of food security at household, national and global information system level. 

She is engaged in global food security policy think tanks and panels and is influential in food security and nutrition policy circles in Africa. She has made large contributions to capacity building for food security in Africa, having trained, mentored and supervised graduates and professionals from over 18 African countries, establishing a large network of graduates.

Elizabeth Hodson de Jaramillo

Elizabeth Hodson de Jaramillo (Colombia) is professor emeritus at the School of Sciences of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. She has a PhD in botany, and she works as an international consultant on bioeconomy, biodiversity, agro-biotechnologies and biosafety of GMOs. 

She is a member of the Academia Colombiana de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales and honorary fellow for the Scientific Committee in Fondazione Scuola Medica Salernitana (Italy). She serves on the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Risk Assessment and Risk Management under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety (Convention on Biological Diversity). 

She is also a member of UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology and the Inter American Network of Academies of Sciences. She is the chair of bioeconomy and sustainable development of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture.

Kimberly Ogden

Kimberly Ogden is the director of the Institute for Advanced Energy Solutions and department chair of Chemical and Environmental Engineering. She received her BS degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Colorado and her PhD from the University of Colorado. She is a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and was the President in 2019 of the International Society for Water Solutions. Kim’s research focus includes bioreactor design for production of alternative fuels from algae, guayule and guar, as well as energy/water nexus research.

She was the engineering technical lead for the National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts (NAABB). Her research in algae to biofuel continues through a Regional Algal Feedstock Testbed program funded by the Department of Energy. The goal of this project is to obtain long term outdoor algal cultivation data that will be available to the public for use in modeling and other research efforts, and demonstrate the feasibility of year round cultivation. Recently Kim is the PI for USDA-NIFA Challenge Area Project titled Sustainable Bioeconomy for Arid Regions. This is a joint project with NMSU, CSM, CSU, Bridgestone and USDA-ARS to investigate producing bioproducts and biofuels from guayule and guar.

Jeffrey C. Silvertooth

As the associate dean and director of Extension and Economic Development, Jeff Silvertooth provides overall administrative leadership and personnel management to the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension. He is also responsible for the development of an effective extension education program and all related translational and applied research programs that are dedicated to extending knowledge resources to the people of the state. 

He also sits on the Executive Council of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences with other associate deans and the dean to formulate decisions for the college.