Dr. Judith Van Houten - Director, Vermont EPSCoR - Biographical Sketch


Dr. Judith Van Houten was named University Distinguished Professor, a life time appointment at the University of Vermont, and one of four inaugural faculty recognized with this honor in 2009. She serves as the George H. Perkins Professor of Biology at the University of Vermont (UVM) and was appointed State Director of the Vermont Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VT EPSCoR) in 2005 of which she also serves as the Principal Investigator. In September 2008, she was inducted into the Vermont Academy of Science and Engineering (VASE) as a Full Member. Elected an AAAS Fellow in the same year, Dr. Van Houten was commended for her "distinguished contributions to the field of chemosensory signal transduction and to development of research infrastructure and pre-baccalaureate education throughout the state of Vermont". In 2010, Dr. Van Houten was elected as a Fellow to the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds leadership positions on national boards as President of the National Association of IDeA Primary Investigators, and Chair of the NSF EPSCoR Project Director's Executive Committee.

The EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement (RII) award, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) with $20M, is the largest ever grant awarded to an Investigator at the University of Vermont. Dr. Van Houten also holds the distinction of securing the second largest award ever to the University of Vermont for the Vermont Genetics Network (VGN) funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with $16.5M for which she acts as Director. Both programs support science and engineering infrastructure in Vermont and promote collaborative research at UVM and beyond.

Dr. Van Houten has received many awards including most recently, the 2012 New England Higher Education State Merit Award for her work with the VT EPSCoR program and a Boston/New England Emmy in 2009 for the Vermont Public Television Series produced in partnership with VT EPSCoR, Emerging Science, which showcases Vermont scientists and researchers. The VT EPSCoR program also received the Tibbetts Award for the SBIR Phase (0) program for private sector development and in 2006 Dr. Van Houten received the Jackie M. Gribbons Leadership award from the Vermont Women in Higher Education.

Dr. Van Houten served as the Director of the HELiX (Hughes Endeavor for Life Science Excellence) Program, from 1995-2009, which supported undergraduate research at the University of Vermont. Dr. Van Houten has a long record of administration and mentoring, including service as Director of the Cell and Molecular Biology Graduate Program for 6 years, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for 5 years, Chair of Biology from 1995-2005. Perhaps most importantly, she has served as Associate PD of VT EPSCoR from 1996 –2005, and as Associate Director for research 1991- 1996. Dr. Van Houten has a record of extramural funding from NIH and NSF. She has received a 7-year Pepper award from NIDCD and the Manheimer Award for career achievements in Chemosensory Sciences. The University of Vermont has recognized her as a University Scholar and the George H. Perkins Professor. She is well regarded in her field, has been elected to offices, including President, in the Association for Chemoreception Sciences, and serves on editorial boards. She is familiar with federal funding mechanisms at NSF and NIH, has served for 6 years on the CMS study section (2 years as chair) and is currently a member of CMBK study section.

Dr. Van Houten received a BS from Pacific Lutheran University and her PhD from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Her research investigates the molecular mechanisms of how cells detect chemicals, and she uses organisms as simple as Paramecium and as complex as mice. Her work provides insights into the sense of smell. A full description of Dr. Van Houten’s research areas may be found at http://www.uvm.edu/~epscor/vanhouten/