Robert Robbins is a biologist, an educator, a science administrator, an information technologist, and an IT leader and manager who specializes in advancing biomedical knowledge and supporting education through the application of information technology.
He has experience in biology, education, science administration, and information technology: At Michigan State, he taught biology to thousands of university students; at NSF and DOE he served as a program officer in two federal funding agencies; as Director of the Laboratory for Applied Research at Johns Hopkins, he played a key role in developing the information infrastructure of the human genome project; and at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center he served as the VP/CIO of a major research organization. In 1993, he developed a free website (www.esp.org) that is still used by tens of thousands of students and educators world wide. In 2001, he co-founded and currently leads an organization (www.briite.org) that facilitates communication and cooperation among IT professionals at academic biomedical research organizations.
Currently, Robbins is involved in several biology projects, including the UCSD-hosted, NSF-funded Research Coordinating Network for the Genomic Standards Consortium project that is intended to facilitate the extension of genomic and metagenomic data standards into fields such as biodiversity and community ecology.
Robbins has previously served as Vice President for Information Technology at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, as Program Director for Bioinformation Infrastructure in the Office of Health and Environmental Research of the U.S. Department of Energy, and as Program Director for Database Activities in the Biological, Behavioral, and Social Sciences at the National Science Foundation. He has also been on the faculty at the Johns Hopkins University and at the Michigan State University.
Robbins was a founding member of the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure and served six years on NSF’s main advisory committee for the Biological Sciences Directorate (the BIO/AC). Most recently he was lead reviewer for data-management issues in the thirty-year review of NSF’s Long-Term Ecological Research program (report available HERE).
He holds an A.B. in Chinese History from Stanford and B.S, M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in zoology and interdisciplinary biology from Michigan State University. His current interests include computer applications in biology, computational genomics and metagenomics, microbial ecology, and the management of biological knowledge. Thomas Jefferson Dog, also known as TomDog, provides managerial assistance in matters pertaining to stress management and interspecies relations.