Professor of Biological Sciences,Vice Provost Research Emeritus
Cornelius (Neal) W. Sullivan is Professor of Biological Sciences at USC’s Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences since 1985. He joined USC in 1974 as an assistant professor and served as director of the marine biology research section of the college’s department of biological sciences from 1982 to 1991 and director of USC’s Hancock Institute of Marine Studies from 1991 to 1993. From 1993 to 1997, Dr. Sullivan served in Washington, D.C. as Director of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Office of Polar Programs and U.S. Antarctic Program, responsible for the planning, funding and management of all U.S. activities in Antarctica. He was named Vice Provost for Research at the University of Southern California on September 1, 1997 and served until 2005. His responsibilities included research strategic planning, facilitation of university-wide programs of interdisciplinary research, government relations in research, technology transfer, and compliance with government regulations regarding research.
Dr. Sullivan’s broad research interests are in life sciences and ocean sciences. Studies focus on microbial processes in the transformation on energy through food webs and biomineralization. His research addresses the structure and function of ice-covered polar oceans and involve laboratory and ship based work from Southern California to the Arctic and Antarctic seas. Specific approaches to address his research interests span biochemistry and cell biology, ocean ecology, modeling and satellite remote sensing of the ocean. He is an internationally recognized authority on polar research and policy issues and has received the National Science Foundation’s Antarctic Service Medal of the United States. He has provided testimony before the U.S. Congress on eight occasions on topics related to polar research platforms, the NSF budget, federal support for research and education and the Antarctic Environmental Protection Act.
Dr. Sullivan is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, former member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Polar Research Board, member of the NSF Director’s Policy Group, member of the Editorial Board of Polar Biology and Microbial Methods, and co-holder of a U.S. patent for heat-sensitive bacterial alkaline phosphatase. He served as a member of the California Council on Science and Technology, the Council on Governmental Relations, the Board of the USC Alfred E. Mann Biomedical Institute, and Chair of the Executive Advisory Board of the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, a U.S. Army supported University Affiliated Research Center (UARC).
He earned his Ph.D. in marine biology from the University of California San Diego in 1971 and spent three years in La Jolla as a post doctoral scholar at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. His M.S. degree is in microbiology from Pennsylvania State University in 1967, and his B.S. degree in biochemistry from Pennsylvania State University in 1965.