Dr. Dorothy Koch

Dr. Dorothy Koch is the Associate Director for Biological and Environmental Research (BER) in the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science (SC). BER supports transformative science and scientific user facilities to achieve a predictive understanding of complex biological, earth, and environmental systems for energy and infrastructure security, independence, and prosperity. This fundamental research, conducted at DOE national laboratories and research institutions across the country, explores organisms and ecosystems that can influence the U.S. energy system and advances understanding of the relationships between energy and the environment from local to global scales. BER user facilities include the Joint Genome Institute (JGI), the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL), and the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) user facility.  Other major BER supported research activities include the DOE Bioenergy Research Centers (BRCs), critical for the development of future transformative bio-based products, clean energy, and next generation technologies; and the Energy Exascale Earth System Model (E3SM), critical for projecting the interactions and impacts between energy systems and the environment over the coming decades. BER recently launched the urban Integrated Field Laboratories (IFL’s) to engage local communities in climate and environmental sciences and participates in programs to broaden science engagement, including Expand Reaching a New Energy Sciences Workforce (RENEW) and Funding for Accelerated, Inclusive Research (FAIR). BER contributes to the Energy Earthshot Research Centers (EERCs) that bring together multi-disciplinary teams to more rapidly remove barriers hampering the translation of basic science into innovative technological solutions.

From 2019 to 2023, Dr. Koch worked in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), first as the Director of the National Weather Service’s (NWS) Office of Science and Technology Integration (OSTI) Modeling Program, responsible for the development of the NWS Forecast System and then as the Director of the Weather Program Office (WPO) Director in Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR). WPO funds research most essential for NOAA to meet its weather forecast mission utilizing next-generation research methods, facilities and infrastructure. At NOAA she built collaborative research and operational teams such as the Unified Forecast System Research to Operations (UFS R2O) Project to develop NOAA’s forecast system; she supported the application of social sciences to physical sciences to improve the effectiveness of forecast information; she established NOAA’s Modeling Team to coordinate and integrate the weather, climate, and marine modeling that spans the organization; and she oversaw the launch of the Earth Prediction Innovation Center (EPIC), designed to engage the community to develop NOAA’s forecast systems.

From 2010-2019 she served as a Program Manager for BER and managed, grew, and transformed the Earth System Modeling portfolio. She established the Energy Exascale Earth System Model, designed to effectively utilize DOE’s advanced high-performance computing systems, incorporate BER’s atmospheric and terrestrial research, and navigate the nation’s integrated environmental-energy challenges.

Prior to working in the federal government, Dr. Koch was a Research Scientist at Columbia University working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASAs) Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), where she established herself as an international scholar with an extensive publication record in the areas of atmospheric aerosols and chemistry, climate, and earth system sciences. She served as a Lead Author for the international Interagency Panel on Climate Change’s 5th Assessment Report.

She received her PhD in Geology and Geophysics from Yale University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology and Geophysics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.