Martina Newell-McGloughlin directs the UC Systemwide Biotechnology
Research and Education Program (UCBREP), which covers all ten campuses and the three national Laboratories, Lawrence Livermore,
Lawrence Berkeley and Los Alamos. She is co-director of an NIH Training Grant in Biomolecular Technology, one of only four in
California (the others being at UCLA, Stanford, and The Scripps Research Institute), and co-director of the NSF IGERT training program in Collaborative Research and Education in Agricultural Technologies and Engineering, a UC/Ireland collaboration. Prior to this she was director of the UC System Life Sciences Informatics
program and the local UC Davis Biotechnology Program. She helped contribute to the formation of Science Foundation Ireland and is now a
member of its Board of Directors.
Martina grew up on a small farm in Galway in the West of Ireland where her sister Nuala still farms. Her father Jack tells
the story, when hearing that he had only three daughters, a visitor expressed the hope that at least Jack had a good dog! Martina's
sister went on to win, at the age of 18, the top prize for the best steer without canine assistance and subsequently dug the foundation
for her own house (with a little mechanical assistance). Martina found work on the farm the most difficult and challenging of her life
experiences. She took a somewhat indirect path to science when a pragmatic nun suggested that home economics was a more practical
choice for girls and, in a move that presaged the rest of her life, she did the opposite.
In her position, she is required to be cognisant of the state-of-the-art in everything from stem cells to nanotechnology research across academia and industry. She has broad experience in developing novel biotechnology research, training and education programs and experience in managing large multidisciplinary grants programs. She has been selected by the former Director of NSF and the former president of the NAS to review cross disciplinary science programs at other institutions. She has published and edited numerous papers, articles, book chapters, three books on biotechnology including her latest book “The Evolution of Biotechnology: From Natufians to Nanotechnology”. The review of the most recent edition of the “bible” of food chemistry “Fennema’s Food Chemistry” singled out her chapter for special consideration.
Martina's personal research experience has been in the areas of disease resistance in plants, scale-up systems for industrial and pharmaceutical production in microbes and microbiological mining. She has a special interest in Developing World Research and is part of the USAID Applied Biotechnology Research Program. She speaks frequently before scientific and other associations, testifies before legislative bodies, and works with the media. She was the keynote speaker at the International Genomics Conference in 2007 following in the footsteps of such notables as Francis Collins, Craig Venter and Leroy Hood. She travels worldwide for various organizations including the US State Department and the USDA as an expert on biotech research and education issues. She was recently requested by the Gates Foundation to brief their directors and by the Pontifical Academy of Science to brief the Vatican on future opportunities and challenges in Biotechnology.
The UC Davis Academic Federation selected her to receive its 2001 James H. Meyer Distinguished Achievement Award. In
2003, the Council for Biotechnology named her one of the DNA Anniversary Year, Faces of Innovation among such luminaries as Norman
Borlaug, Ingo Potrykus, Barbara McClintock and Roger Beachy, the pioneers and innovators behind the progress of plant biotechnology
over the past 20 years. In 2005, she and Lester Crawford, FDA Commissioner, among others, were awarded the 'Irish America Lifescience
Awards' as one of the top contributors to Irish American Life Science. Her science training is from Trinity College, Dublin; University
College Dublin, and the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.