JIS News

Jamaican, Professor Joseph A. Whittaker, was elected the 73rd President of Sigma Xi, at the Society’s 2008 Annual Meeting, held recently in Washington, D.C. in the United States of America.
Professor Whittaker, who hails from Falmouth, Trelawny, 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, Mathematics 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.
Professor Whittaker’s own research has focussed 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, Georgia.
While at Morehouse, he spearheaded an initiative to establish the MSM Developmental Neuroscience Programme, which drove the design and construction of the current Neuroscience Institute, the first of its kind in a historically black college and university.
Professor Whittaker is a devoted teacher, researcher and leader, who has been recognised 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 Centre for Disease Control, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Institute of Health.
Founded in 1886, Sigma Xi is the international honour society of research scientists and engineers, with more than 500 chapters at colleges and universities, government laboratories and industry research centres. Membership is by invitation, in recognition of research potential or achievement.
Over the years, more than 200 Sigma Xi members have received the Nobel Peace 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 programmes that support science and engineering.