For the last three decades, The Science Coalition has been a steadfast advocate on Capitol Hill for robust, consistent, and predictable federal investment in fundamental scientific research. This year, we’ve invited another voice to the conversation: the university researchers doing the work on the ground. Their direct relationships with research agencies and hands-on experience navigating the landscape of federal funding give them unique perspective on the state of the American scientific enterprise and what Congress can do to ensure its success in the 21st century and beyond.

Check out their stories and learn more about their work below and follow The Science Coalition on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with researchers in real time.


Dr. Chris Thorncroft, University at Albany

Tackling extreme weather on the home front thanks to federal research partnerships

Dr. Thorncroft, the Director of the Atmospheric Science Research Center at the University at Albany, and the National Science Foundation are working together to combat extreme weather in New York and prevent economic loss in the process.

Federal funding agency: National Science Foundation (NSF) | Additional resources


Dr. Rebecca Whelan, University of Notre Dame

Viewpoint: For economic and personal health, fund cancer research,” The South Bend Tribune

Dr. Whelan, an Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame, is developing more powerful tests to detect ovarian cancer and save lives.

Federal funding agency: National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Cancer Institute (NCI) | Additional resources


Dr. Bogdan Dragnea, Indiana University

Dr. Dragnea is studying how nanoparticles transform their environment and pioneering laser-based technologies.

Federal funding agency: National Science Foundation (NSF), Army Research Laboratory (ARL) | Additional resources


Dr. Elizabeth Weybright, Washington State University

Dr. Weybright’s research focuses on preventing substance misuse among rural adolescents.

Federal funding agency: U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) | Additional resources


Dr. Angela Branche, M.D., University of Rochester

Dr. Branche is interested in defining the burden of disease caused by respiratory viruses like RSV and influenza, finding new methods of diagnoses and treatment, and developinig preventative tools.

Federal funding agency: National Institutes of Health (NIH) | Additional resources


Dr. Ben Zaitchik, Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Zaitchik’s research is centered on understanding and predicting extreme weather events to protect the health and safety of our economy and society at large.

Federal funding agency: National Science Foundation (NSF), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) | Additional resources


Dr. Leslie Leve, University of Oregon

Dr. Leve is studying the long-term outcomes for women who were formerly in the child welfare system or juvenile justice system.

Federal funding agency: NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) | Additional resources


Tess Carter, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Graduate student Tess Carter is working to understand how smoke from wildfires affects air quality, health, and the climate.

Federal funding agency: National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) | Additional resources


Dr. Kevin O’Brien, University of Illinois

Dr. O’Brien, the director of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, is building the world’s largest carbon capture system to fight climate change.

Federal funding agency: Department of Energy (DOE) | Additional resources