ALAN WOOD, director of a Mississippi State University's Life Sciences and Biotechnology Institute, has been named to USDA's eight-member Research, Education and Economics Task Force. The group is comprised of scientists from a variety of disciplines, including medicine, agriculture and biotechnology.

The 2002 farm bill created the task force, which is conducting a review of USDA's Agricultural Research Service to evaluate the merits of establishing one or more national institutes focused on food and agricultural science. It will report its findings to Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and the U.S. House and Senate agriculture committees by the fall of 2003.

Wood received his bachelor's degree in biology from Middlebury College in Vermont and a master's and doctorate in virology from Purdue University.

He joined MSU in 2001 as the first director of the Life Sciences and Biotechnology Institute. His previous work includes biologically based pest management research at Cornell University and leadership of a U.S. Forest Service team studying the use of biological pest control agents in forests.