Dr. Ali Nouri *06, a molecular biologist, is the President of the Federation of American Scientists, an organization that for the last 75 years has been at the forefront of addressing global risks that range from nuclear weapons to pandemics. Nouri’s publications are in the fields of virology, cell biology, developmental biology and public policy.

His policy focus is centered around addressing the current COVID-19 pandemic; combatting disinformation and educating the public; and building scientific advisory bodies for institutions that need them, such as the US Congress.

Prior to assuming his role at FAS Nouri served in Congress advising Senators Jim Webb and Al Franken over a ten year period. He served in various positions including as legislative director, national security advisor, energy and environment advisor, and as a science and technology advisor. He began his Senate career as a AAAS Congressional Science and Engineering Fellow.

Nouri is co-chair of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s New Voices initiative; he is co-chair of the NAS Forum on COVID-19; and he serves on the National Academy’s Global Science Diplomacy Roundtable on which he is co-chair of the subcommittee on countering disinformation. Nouri serves on the advisory board of the National Science Policy Network – a global network of early career scientists who engage in science policy and as a member of the MacArthur Foundation’s 100 & Change Wise Head Panel.

Prior to his decade of service in the US Senate, Nouri served as an advisor in the office of then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and as a research associate at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School where he developed initiatives to reduce the risks of dual-use biotechnology. In addition to his policy work, he developed ways to technically safeguard a class of dual-use biotechnologies to effectively turn them into single-use (beneficial only) tools.

Nouri obtained a BA in biology from Reed College and received his PhD from Princeton University under the tutelage of Professor Eric Wieschaus who is a recipient of the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. His dissertation dealt with the genetics of animal development and human cancers. Prior to his graduate work, Nouri was a researcher at the Oregon Health and Sciences University where he co-authored a set of influential papers on the mechanism used by viruses to infect their hosts.

*Photo courtesy of Reed College