"Ira Rubinoff is the Smithsonian’s Acting Under Secretary for Science, effective April 21, on leave from his position as director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.
"As acting Under Secretary, he oversees the Smithsonian’s science museums and research facilities, including the National Museum of Natural History; the National Zoological Park and its Conservation and Research Center in Virginia; the National Air and Space Museum; the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Massachusetts; the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama; the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center near the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland; the National Science Resources Center in Washington, D.C.; and the Museum Conservation Institute in Maryland.
"Rubinoff, 68, has directed the Tropical Research Institute since 1974. He is the fourth director to serve the institute since the former Canal Zone Biological Area became a unit of the Smithsonian in 1946.
"Under Rubinoff’s leadership, the institute has developed major international research initiatives in tropical forest and canopy biology, paleoecology and marine sciences. He played a critical role in establishing the Center for Tropical Forest Science, a network of 18 large forest plots under long-term study in 15 tropical countries. Rubinoff also oversaw the establishment of the institute’s Naos molecular laboratory—the first of its kind in Central America—and the Automated Radio Telemetry System on Barro Colorado Island. Additionally, he negotiated for the continuity of Barro Colorado Island as a research station and the creation of the larger Barro Colorado Nature Monument (1977-1978) and facilitated the establishment of Panama’s Soberania National Park. "