Leadership changes for Northern Gulf Institute

Two top research professors from Mississippi State are joining the leadership of the Northern Gulf Institute.

Robert J. Moorhead, the university's Billie J. Ball Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computing Engineering, and Donald C. Jackson, Sharp Distinguished Professor of Fisheries, have been selected to serve as NGI director and deputy director, respectively. Moorhead is also director of the Geosystems Research Institute, the founding entity for NGI.

"We look forward to the leadership and contributions both of these gentlemen will provide to the Northern Gulf Institute and the region's environment and economy," said David Shaw.

"NGI's research, service, and outreach are truly making a difference, and we will continue to provide accomplished leadership for the northern gulf region," the vice president for research and economic development added.

Moorhead has an extensive background in scientific visualization research having served as director of the Visualization, Analysis and Imaging Laboratory and deputy director of the Computational GeoSpatial Technologies Center. He was the deputy director of the GRI at MSU prior to taking the lead at both GRI and NGI. His current research interests include computationally demanding visualization and analysis issues.

Moorhead received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pa., and a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from North Carolina State University. Prior to coming to MSU, he was a research staff member at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center. He served six years as summer faculty at the Naval Oceanographic Office, Stennis Space Center, and was the scientific visualization research thrust leader in the MSU National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Computational Field Simulation. He has worked extensively with both NASA and the Naval Research Lab at Stennis Space Center in various research projects over the last 15 years.

Jackson comes to NGI from MSU's department of wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture, most recently focusing in river and coastal zone fisheries research, management, and Development. His most recently published work dealt specifically with fisheries ecology and management following hurricanes. He recently served as president of the American Fisheries Society. He also has served as president of the Mississippi Wildlife Federation. He is a past recipient of the Mississippi Wildlife Federation's Fisheries Conservationist of the Year Award, the American Fisheries Society Fisheries Management Section's Award of Excellence, and was elected a Fellow in the American Institute of Fisheries Research Biologists.

Jackson received a bachelor's degree in zoology and a master's in zoology/limnology from the University of Arkansas, and a doctorate in fisheries management from Auburn University. He has worked on international fisheries assignments in Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe.

In addition to his position with Mississippi State, he is an adjunct professor with the Malaysian University of Science (Universiti Sains Malaysia--Penang). In this capacity he successfully helped Mississippi State establish a long-term memorandum of agreement for collaborative work and faculty and student exchanges in natural resources.

Moorhead and Jackson are joining the NGI leadership team of co-director Bill McAnally and chief scientist John Harding. The previous director, Mike Carron, left NGI to accept a position with the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.

NGI is a NOAA cooperative institute led by Mississippi State. Other academic partners include the University of Southern Mississippi, and Louisiana State and Florida State universities, and the Dauphin Island Sea Laboratory near Mobile, Ala. NGI is also a member of the High Performance Computing Collaboratory at MSU.

Construction of a new Mississippi State University Science and Technology Center at the John C. Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis will be completed this summer. The 40,000-square-foot building will be home to the Northern Gulf Institute and other MSU offices.

For more information, contact Moorhead at rjm@ngi.msstate.edu.

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