Biga to advise chief scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture

UAB assistant professor lands fellowship that allows her to provide expert advice on police in regard to science and technology relating to agriculture in the United States.
Written by: Emily Stembridge
Media contact: Alicia Rohan

AAAS2Peggy Biga, Ph.D., Department of BiologyPeggy Biga, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has been awarded an American Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology Policy Fellowship.

The prestigious honor allows devoted scientists and engineers to contribute their knowledge and analytical skills to the federal policymaking process. Biga’s fellowship will be in the Office of the Chief Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture — her top choice.

As a fellow, Biga will provide expert advice to the chief scientist and staff across the USDA on areas of policy development and operational planning on science and technologies pertaining to agriculture. She will have the opportunity to review, evaluate and make a positive impact on a broad range of policy and program issues and concerns, including her areas of interest — nutrition and health, animal health, production and products, and climate change. Biga hopes to utilize her expertise as a research scientist, biologist and educator to ensure policies are supported by data-driven science and evidence. 

Biga is a broadly trained comparative endocrine physiologist, with primary research interests focusing on the mechanisms regulating growth patterns in animals. Her research questions revolve around what mechanisms regulate skeletal muscle proliferation, differentiation and atrophy. She uses comparative biology to understand the plasticity of regulatory mechanisms and how they translate to variability in overall organismal growth. 

Biga was initially drawn to biology because it involves chemistry, physics, mathematics and social sciences. Through these subjects, she discovered her passion for research.

“Without research, our knowledge of the natural world would stagnate, and no technological or medical progress would occur,” Biga explained. “It is pretty rewarding to be able to contribute to science every day, and I am honored to be able to contribute as an AAAS fellow.”

In Washington, D.C., Biga hopes to enhance her reach and make an impact on science policy, while gaining valuable professional development. The AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellowship includes monthly workshops, a career summit, special interest events and a year-end summit. 

“I am very excited to get this opportunity to expand my reach outside of academia, while also having the opportunity to become a science policy leader,” she said. “This fellowship will allow me to gain more expertise with the policy process and make valuable connections with policymakers in Washington.”