Dr. Claudia Benitez-Nelson - University of South Carolina

October 7, 2016 - 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM

Dr. Claudia Benitez-Nelson - University of South Carolina

Title: Neurotoxins and the Environment. Understanding the Production, Cycling and Fate of Domoic Acid Along the California Coast.

Dr. Claudia Benitez-Nelson is a College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Professor in the Marine Science Program and Department of Earth & Ocean Sciences at the University of South Carolina.  Her research focuses on the biogeochemical cycling of phosphorus and carbon and how these elements are influenced by both natural and anthropogenic processes.  She is a diverse scientist, with expertise ranging from radiochemistry to harmful algal bloom toxins and is highly regarded for her cross-disciplinary research.  Over the past two decades, Dr. Benitez-Nelson has authored or co-authored more than 90 papers, including lead author publications in the journals Science and Nature. She has been continuously supported by substantial, multi-year research and education grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, among others.  Her many research honors include the Early Career Award in Oceanography from the American Geophysical Union in 1996, Fulbright and Marie Curie Fellowships in 2008, and was named a National Academies of Science/Humboldt Foundation Kavli Fellow in 2012.  

Dr. Benitez-Nelson is also highly regarded as a teacher and mentor, having received the National Faculty of the Year Award from the National Society of Collegiate Scholars in 2005 and the University of South Carolina’s Mungo Teaching Award in 2006.  In 2013, Dr. Benitez-Nelson was named the University of South Carolina’s Distinguished Professor of the Year and in 2014 received the Sulzman Award for Excellence in Education and Mentoring from the Biogeosciences Section of the American Geophysical Union.  In 2015, she was named a fellow of the AAAS, one of the highest honors in the sciences that a researcher can receive. At the University of South Carolina, Dr. Benitez-Nelson served as both the Undergraduate Director and Director of USC’s Marine Science Program, doubling undergraduate enrollment and increasing the number of faculty.  She is regularly called upon by national and international scientific and policy agencies for her expertise and currently serves or has served as a member of the Advisory Committee to the Geoscience Directorate of NSF, the EPA Science Advisory Board, and the National Academy of Science’s Ocean Studies Board.  Dr. Benitez-Nelson earned a B.S. in chemistry and oceanography from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in oceanography from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute/Massachusetts Institute of Technology Joint Program in 1999. 

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