Asmeret Asefaw Berhe Official Portrait

Dr. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe is the Director of the Office of Science for the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Berhe is currently on leave from the University of California, Merced where she holds the Ted and Jan Falasco Chair in Earth Sciences and Geology; is a Professor of Soil Biogeochemistry; and served as Associate Dean for Graduate Education. Her research focus lies at the intersection of soil science, global change science, and political ecology with an emphasis on how the soil system regulates the earth’s climate and the dynamic two-way relationship between the natural environment and human communities. 

She previously served as the Chair of the U.S. National Committee on Soil Science and member of the Board of International Scientific Organizations at the National Academies; Leadership board member for the Earth Science Women’s Network; and founding a co-principal investigator in the ADVANCEGeo Partnership – a National Science Foundation funded effort to empower scientists to respond to and prevent harassment, discrimination, bullying, and other exclusionary behaviors in research environments. 

Her scholarship and efforts to ensure equity and inclusion of people from all walks of life in the scientific enterprise have received numerous awards and honors. Dr. Berhe is a member of the National Academy of Engineering; she is also a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Geological Society of America and a member of the inaugural class of the U.S. National Academies’ New Voices in Science, Engineering, and Medicine. 

Berhe received a B.Sc. in Soil and Water Conservation from the University of Asmara; an M.Sc. in Political Ecology from Michigan State University; and a Ph.D. in Biogeochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley.