Shetty named to Jefferson Science Fellowship at U.S. State Department

By Patrick J. Callahan

Kalidas Shetty, associate professor of Food Science, has been named one of five scholars to serve as Jefferson Science Fellows advising the U.S. State Department on scientific issues as they relate to international diplomacy. The announcement was made in Washington, D.C. by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

“In the 21st century, American foreign policy must have a sound scientific foundation,” Powell said. “And we must build on that foundation to stem the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to lift people out of poverty and to lead states onto the path of sustainable development.”

The five Jefferson Science Fellows will serve in the State Department for one year, beginning in August, and then will return to their university posts, serving as occasional advisors in the future. The other four fellows, their universities and their specialties are: Julian Adams, University of Michigan, evolutionary biology; Bruce Averill, University of Toledo, biochemistry; Melba Crawford, University of Texas at Austin, remote imaging; and David Eastmond, University of California at Riverside, toxicology.

Shetty, whose research specializes in food biotechnology, said, “I am grateful and honored to be awarded the Jefferson Science Fellowship by the National Academy of Sciences and the State Department. This fellowship program has been inspired by the great American thinkers and leaders such as Jefferson and Franklin as well as in modern times Dr. Norman Borlaug, who gave the world the Green Revolution through improved food production around the world,” Shetty said. “This fellowship at the State Department gives us the opportunity to give something back to the world at-large.”

He added that inspiration from science and technology as well as a sense of pragmatism and a global perspective from such thinkers provided some of the critical foundations for modern America. This has inspired many generations since and this foundation acted as a magnet to attract diverse talents and perspectives for the development of United States and the world. This inspiration will be critically important to build the present and future, especially in these challenging times, he said.

Chancellor John V. Lombardi said, “It is always a pleasure to celebrate when one of our own exceptional faculty members receives national recognition, especially within such distinguished company as the Jefferson Fellows program. Professor Shetty is well known to us, of course, and we are delighted that he has been awarded this significant honor.”

“I had the privilege of attending the awards ceremony in Washington D.C. at the State Department, and was overwhelmed with pride for Dr. Shetty,” said Charlena Seymour, senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and provost. “His selection confirms his place as one of the top scientists in his field. The opportunities for future research are as exciting as they are unlimited.”

The Jefferson Science Fellows Program is supported by grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation, and will receive financial and institutional support from participating American universities. The program is endorsed by numerous professional scientific societies and organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, which will administer the program.

Globalization has emphasized the critical need for accurate, timely understanding of relevant science and technology in the formulation and implementation of effective foreign policy in such diverse areas as human health, security, environment, and trade. Jefferson Science fellows will play an important role by providing cutting-edge scientific and technical expertise to policymakers in the U.S. Department of State. By helping to bridge the science and policy worlds, each fellow will alert the policy community to opportunities and challenges associated with longer range, emerging international scientific developments. In doing so, the Jefferson Science Fellows Program defines a significant new relationship between the scientific community at U.S. universities and the U.S. Department of State.