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About the Office of the Chief Scientist

The Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) provides leadership and coordination to ensure that research supported by, and scientific advice provided to the Department and external stakeholders is held to the highest standards of intellectual rigor and scientific integrity.

The OCS strives to inform policy and programmatic decisions within the Department by providing the best available scientific advice and input; establishing appropriate linkages between the USDA and other science-performing organizations in government (U.S. and abroad), academia, and industry; and ensuring the dissemination of science performed by the Department to policy makers and decision leaders across the spectrum of policy making nationally and internationally.


  • Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Under Secretary of Research, Education, and Economics and USDA Chief Scientist
  • Deirdra Chester, Director, Office of the Chief Scientist
  • Richard Derksen, Deputy Director, Office of the Chief Scientist

Senior Staff/Advisors

  • Jaime Adams, Senior Advisor for International Affairs
  • Neena Anandaraman, Veterinary Science Policy Advisor
  • Rena Bannister, Administrative Assistant
  • Elizabeth Hill, USDA Honey Bee and Pollinator Research Coordinator
  • William C. Trenkle, Departmental Scientific Integrity Officer (DSIO) and USDA Research Integrity Officer
  • Holly Wiggins, Strategic Planning, Program Evaluation & Enterprise Risk Officer
  • Paul Zankowski, Agricultural Science Advisor


  • Tara Weaver-Missick, Director of Communications
  • Ganjofarid Anvarzod, Visual Information Specialist
  • Megan Guilfoyle, Public Affairs Specialist

Senior Advisors (Rotating)

  • Melanie Abley, Senior Advisor for Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health
  • Diane Wray-Cahen, Senior Advisor for Animal Health and Production, and Animal Products


  • Hope Bigda-Peyton, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow
  • William Singer, Ph.D., AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow
  • Justin Bredlau, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow
  • Raul Brens, International Affairs Fellow
  • Christian Man, International Affairs Advisor

NAREEE Advisory Board

The National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics Advisory Board provides feedback to the Secretary of Agriculture, USDA’s science agencies and university collaborators on food and agricultural research, education, extension and economics priorities and policies.