Founding Council

Princeton Studies Food cofounders and its founding Council members are Timothy Searchinger, research scholar at WWS-STEP; Kelly Caylor, formerly associate professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and director, Program in Environmental Studies, now at UC-Santa Barbara; Gordon Douglas MD ’55 and Sheila Mahoney S’55; and Karla Cook. Rozalie Czesana ’18, who studied public policy and its effects on food and agriculture, was our first student member.

Gordon Douglas MD ’55 is Professor Emeritus of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and is director of three biotech companies: Vical, Inc. Novadigm, and Protein Sciences. He was president of the Merck Vaccine Division, responsible for the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of Merck’s vaccine products, from 1989 until 1999. Previously, he was an infectious disease specialist with research interests in respiratory viral infections, vaccines, and antivirals at Weill Cornell Medical College and the University of Rochester School of Medicine. MD, Cornell University Medical College; National Academy of Medicine. Gordon and Sheila Mahoney S’55 were inspired to work on food issues after auditing Practical Ethics, the popular class taught by Peter Singer, a philosopher professor at Princeton University. The two provided seed funding to Searchinger for two food-related conferences. Read their story in Giving to Princeton: “Feeding the World Sustainably: Princeton Gets to Work,” here.

Tim Searchinger is a research scholar in the Woodrow Wilson School STEP program and a lecturer in the Princeton Environmental Institute. His work combines ecology, agronomy and economics to explore ways of meeting global food needs while reducing climate change and impacts on ecosystems. His academic work is best known for papers exploring the land use and greenhouse gas emissions of bioenergy. He is a senior fellow at the World Resources Institute, for which he serves as technical director of “Creating a Sustainable Food Future: A Menu of Solutions to Sustainably Feed More than 9 Billion People by 2050.”

Karla Cook is a veteran food journalist, food systems educator and consultant, curriculum developer, strategist and convener. Her work uses the power and the universality of food and its pleasures to connect people to their own bodies, to each other, and to the environment. She is a former restaurant critic for The New York Times and is a founder of the Princeton School Gardens Cooperative, a 14-year-old food literacy nonprofit that focuses its efforts on grades K-12 in the public schools. Science, Society & Dinner, a course she envisioned, then created with Professor Kelly Caylor and Chef Craig Shelton that debuted as FRS 138 in Spring 2016, has become a foundational pillar of the Thaden School, a new independent school for grades 6-12 in Bentonville, AR, under the leadership of founding directer Clayton Marsh ’85.; 609-658-2104.

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