Thomas S. Litwin named Jackson Laboratory V.P. for education

Date: December 10, 2012
| Share

Bar Harbor, Maine—To advance The Jackson Laboratory’s national impact on science education, scientist and educator Thomas S. Litwin, Ph.D., has been appointed to the newly created post of vice president for education.

Tom LitwinIn this new role, Litwin will oversee the Laboratory’s pre-college and college education programs, predoctoral and postdoctoral training programs, and the growing roster of web-based educational material, courses, conferences and workshops for working scientists, laboratory professionals and the public.

Jackson President and CEO Edison Liu, M.D., explains, “Education has been an important part of The Jackson Laboratory’s mission for our entire 83-year history. Tom Litwin’s outstanding background and qualifications make him the ideal person to revitalize and coordinate all of our educational and training initiatives.”

Litwin has been director of the Clark Science Center—a seven-building complex engaging eight academic departments and 90 faculty members—at Smith College in Northampton, Mass., since 1989. Collaborating with colleagues, Litwin has overseen an era of transition from traditional teaching methods to hands-on experiential science education. He is a faculty member in Smith’s Department of Biological Sciences and the founding director of Smith’s Environmental Science & Policy Program, as well as a Five-College Graduate Faculty Member in the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Reflecting his many contributions, Smith College President Carol Christ said, “We are grateful for Tom’s significant efforts in helping Smith build a program of excellence in science education. While he will be missed, Tom is a programmatic bridge builder and we look forward to working with him to establish a collaborative relationship with The Jackson Laboratory.”

At Smith College, Litwin spearheaded innovative and integrative educational programs widely recognized and funded by educational initiatives of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. In addition to his focus on education, Litwin's wide-ranging research interests involve the impact of human land use patterns on the migration and population dynamics of waterbirds, neotropical birds and other wildlife. His work was recognized by a 2004 Aldo Leopold Fellowship from Stanford University’s Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.

In keeping with Litwin’s commitment to improve public understanding of science, he was project creator and producer of two PBS television projects: “The 1899 Harriman Alaska Expedition Retraced, A Century of Change” and “Thin Ice: An Exploration of the Bering Sea in the Age of Climate Change.”

Litwin will join The Jackson Laboratory staff in March. He says, “Science education is evolving rapidly in the United States and The Jackson Laboratory is poised to play a significant role in advancing genetic and genomic literacy. With a strong unifying vision and innovative goals in place, it is a very exciting time to be joining this talented group of educators and scientists.” 

Litwin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y., and a Ph.D. from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. He is a member of the American Association of Colleges and Universities, the Society for Conservation Biology, the Ecological Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Sigma Xi.

The Jackson Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution based in Bar Harbor, Maine, with a facility in Sacramento, Calif., and a new genomic medicine institute in Farmington, Conn. It employs a total staff of more than 1,400. Its mission is to discover precise genomic solutions for disease and empower the global biomedical community in the shared quest to improve human health.

Download a high-resolution image of Dr. Litwin (JPG)

Contact(s): Joyce Peterson, 207-288-6058

For information on automatic email delivery of news releases (journalists only), please send an email request for details to Please address other inquiries to

Media Relations, Communications Office
The Jackson Laboratory
600 Main Street
Bar Harbor, Maine 04609-1500
Phone: 207-288-6058 (journalists only)
Main Jackson Laboratory phone: 207-288-6000
Fax: 207-288-6076