Deborah H. Olster

    Senior Advisor
    Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) U.S. National Science Foundation

    Deborah Olster is a Senior Advisor in the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) at the National Science Foundation (NSF)

    In that capacity she works with the rest of the Directorate’s leadership team on scientific planning and communications efforts, liaises with the SBE Advisory Committee, and represents SBE on numerous internal and external working groups and committees. At present she co-chairs the Understanding the Rules of Life. Predicting Phenotype Steering Committee that is guiding development of research activities for that NSF “Big Idea” and is leading the Directorate’s participation in the Trans-Atlantic Platform Recovery, Renewal and Resilience in a Post-Pandemic World international funding opportunity.

    Prior to joining NSF in 2013, Deborah was Deputy Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research. In that position she engaged in a variety of scientific activities in service of the Office’s mission to stimulate behavioral and social sciences research throughout NIH and to integrate these areas of research more fully into others of the NIH health research enterprise. As an American Association for the Advancement of Science/NSF Science and Technology Policy Fellow in SBE from 2000-2001, Deborah worked on developing programs in cognitive neuroscience and the science of learning and on the protection of human subjects in research.

    Prior to coming to the federal government, Deborah enjoyed a distinguished academic career as a Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she conducted research on neuroendocrine mechanisms governing reproductive and ingestive behaviors in a variety of animal models. Deborah received her bachelor’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and did postdoctoral work at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.