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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.


  • Hubert Hamer, Acting REE Under Secretary & Acting USDA Chief Scientist
  • Dionne F. Toombs, Director, Office of the Chief Scientist
  • Richard Derksen, Deputy Director of the 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, Senior Advisor for Plant Health & Production and Plant Products


  • Tara Weaver-Missick, Director of Communications
  • Justice Wright, Deputy Director, Research, Education, and Economics
  • Ganjofarid Anvarzod, Visual Information Specialist

Senior Advisors (Rotating)

  • Melanie Abley, Senior Advisor for Food Safety, Nutrition, and Health
  • William Goldner, Senior Advisor for Renewable Energy, Natural Resources, and Environment
  • Suzanne Thornsbury, Senior Advisor for Agricultural Economics and Rural Communities
  • Diane Wray-Cahen, Senior Advisor for Animal Health and Production, and Animal Products


  • Peggy R. Biga, Senior AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow
  • Justin Bredlau, AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow
  • Dominique Carter, Agricultural Science Fellow
  • Laura Schreeg, International Affairs Fellow

NAREEE Advisory Board