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Adam P. Fagen, PhD

Executive Director



Adam Fagen

Adam P. Fagen has served as executive director of the Genetics Society of America (GSA) since December 2011. In this role, he provides strategic leadership for all society activities and works with the elected Board of Directors to set organizational priorities and budgets.


He was previously director of public affairs for the American Society of Plant Biologists, where he led the society’s activities in Congressional and government relations, education, communications, and outreach.


Prior to assuming that role, he was senior program officer with the Board on Life Sciences at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine where he directed studies and meetings on a wide range of topics. Among the reports he directed were Bridges to Independence: Fostering the Independence of New Investigators in Biomedical Research (2005), Treating Infectious Diseases in a Microbial World (2006), Understanding Interventions that Encourage Minorities to Pursue Research Careers (2007), Inspired by Biology: From Molecules to Materials to Machines (2008), Transforming Agricultural Education for a Changing World (2009), Responsible Research with Biological Select Agents and Toxins (2009), Research at the Intersection of the Physical and Life Sciences (2010), and the 2007, 2008, and 2010 Amendments to the National Academies’ Guidelines for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research (2007, 2008, 2010). He also was the responsible staff officer for the National Academies Summer Institute on Undergraduate Education in Biology.


Before coming to the National Academies, Dr. Fagen was preceptor on molecular and cellular biology at Harvard University. He earned his PhD in molecular biology and education from Harvard, working on issues related to undergraduate science courses; his research focused on mechanisms for assessing and enhancing introductory science courses in biology and physics to encourage student learning and conceptual understanding, including studies of active learning, classroom demonstrations, and student understanding of genetics vocabulary. He also received an AM in molecular and cellular biology from Harvard, based on laboratory research in molecular evolutionary genetics, and a BA from Swarthmore College with a double-major in biology and mathematics. Dr. Fagen was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and Graduate Teaching Fellow in K-12 Teaching.


Dr. Fagen served as co-director of the 2000 National Doctoral Program Survey, an on-line assessment of doctoral programs organized by the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS), supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and completed by over 32,000 students.  He was honored with two NAGPS President’s Awards and the NAGPS Lifetime Achievement Award.


In recent years, he has served as a reviewer for the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, a member of the working group on Evolution Across the Curriculum at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, a member of the program committee for Understanding Interventions that Broaden Participation in Research, and chair of the NAGPS National Advisory Board.



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