Ajit Subramaniam is the program director of the Marine Microbiology Initiative.
Ajit is a biological oceanographer with expertise in biogeochemical cycles, remote sensing, bio-optics, and phytoplankton physiology. He has worked on understanding the processes that can explain why particular species of phytoplankton grow where they do, the factors that cause such blooms, that lead to their demise, and the consequences of these blooms. Ajit has more than 20 years of research experience and has participated in over 50 research cruises. He comes to the foundation from the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University where he was a Lamont Associate Research Professor. He served as a program manager in the Biological Oceanography Program at the U.S. National Science Foundation in 2008-2009.
Ajit earned his Ph.D. in Coastal Oceanography and M.S. in Marine Environmental Science from SUNY, Stony Brook.
Samantha Forde is a program officer with the Marine Microbiology Initiative.
Samantha joined the Foundation with over 10 years of experience as a researcher and educator. She is a broadly trained biologist, with interdisciplinary expertise in evolutionary ecology (including phage), statistics, mathematics, molecular biology, and systems biology. Previously, Samantha was a faculty member at UC Santa Cruz and co-founded Women Evolving Biological Sciences, a professional development program for early-career women biologists, funded by the National Science Foundation. She was also involved with Cal Teach, a California-wide initiative to increase the number of qualified science and math teachers in public schools.
Samantha earned a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from UC Santa Cruz, and conducted her postdoctoral research in microbial ecology and evolution at Stanford University.
Jon Kaye is a program officer with the Marine Microbiology Initiative.
Prior to joining the Foundation, Jon was a science policy fellow selected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and hosted at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, D.C. There he developed research and policy strategies aimed at mitigating the risks and consequences of naturally occurring or intentionally introduced human, animal, and plant diseases.
By training Jon is a marine microbial ecologist. He spent seven months at sea investigating deep-sea hydrothermal vent communities in the North and South Pacific oceans. He has also helped the American Museum of Natural History and the PBS television program NOVA with projects related to hydrothermal vents.
Jon earned a B.S. in Geology–Biology at Brown University and a Ph.D. in Oceanography at the University of Washington. After graduate school, he was a post-doctoral researcher in the Microbiology Department at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst.