Reed Grad Leads the Charge on Climate Crisis

Ali Nouri ’97 will champion scientific perspective at the US Department of Energy.

By Chris Lydgate ’90 | March 18, 2021

Reed grad Ali Nouri ’97 will play a key role in the US Department of Energy's response to the climate crisis as incoming chief of the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs.

A molecular biologist by training, Dr. Nouri recently served as the president of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), where he led an initiative to combat the tsunami of misinformation and disinformation that has accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic. He partnered with top research universities around the globe to create the “Ask A Scientist” platform, which debunked viral rumors and provided scientific information about the novel coronavirus, its origins, symptoms, treatment, vaccines, and so on.

“Honored and thrilled to share that I've joined the Biden-Harris Administration,” he wrote about his new appointment last month. “I’ll be leading the Department of Energy’s Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs with a focus on tackling the climate crisis and helping to build a clean energy future.”

Dr. Nouri came to Reed College as an undergrad intending to major in sociology, but switched to biology and wrote his thesis on neuropeptides in Aplysia californica, the California sea hare. He went on to earn a PhD at Princeton, served as an advisor in the office of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and worked as a staffer in the US Senate before joining FAS.

“I’m a big believer in a liberal arts education because it gives you the tools you can apply to just about any career,” Dr. Nouri told Reed Magazine back in 2016. “Especially in this economy, where people change careers every five years or so, you need a solid foundation.”


Tags: Alumni, Awards & Achievements, Climate, Sustainability, Environmental, Life Beyond Reed