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November 24, 2008
Joseph Whittaker Elected President of Sigma Xi
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC – Joseph A. Whittaker was elected the 73rd president of Sigma Xi at the Society's 2008 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. He will serve as president-elect beginning July 1, 2009.
A Sigma Xi member since 1988, he is dean and professor of biology in the School of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, where he oversees more than 100 faculty members involved in research, training and educational activities in five academic departments.
Whittaker's own research has focused on neurotransmitter interactions and the development of respiratory control, as well as basal ganglia anatomy and physiology. He joined the faculty of Howard University in 1991 and subsequently moved to Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) in Atlanta.
While at Morehouse, he spearheaded an initiative to establish the MSM Developmental Neuroscience Program, which drove the design and construction of the current Neuroscience Institute, the first of its kind in a historically black college and university. It became a prototype for 12 additional NIH-supported Specialized Neuroscience Research Programs at minority-serving institutions.
Whittaker is a devoted teacher, researcher and leader and has been recognized for his many contributions to undergraduate, graduate and medical education as well as to research, faculty and institutional development in several academic institutions.
He has served at the national level on scientific review panels and committees at the National Science Foundation, the Center for Disease Control, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institutes of Health.
Most recently, he has served on the NIH/NCRR Centers of Biomedical Research Excellence panel and the Scientific and Technical Review Board on Biomedical and Behavioral Research Facilities.
Over the years, Whittaker has served two terms as associate director of the Sigma Xi At-large Constituency and as a member of the Committee on Qualifications and Membership. A longer biography and his candidate's statement are available online.
About Sigma Xi
Founded in 1886, Sigma Xi is the international honor society of research scientists and
engineers, with more than 500 chapters at colleges and universities, government laboratories and
industry research centers. Membership is by invitation, in
recognition of research potential or achievement. Over the years, more than 200 Sigma Xi members
have received the Nobel Prize. In addition to publishing American Scientist magazine, the non-profit society awards hundreds of grants annually to student
researchers and sponsors a variety of programs that support science and engineering.