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Donal Manahan

Donal Manahan

Vice Dean for Students


Donal T. Manahan, professor of biological sciences, was appointed as the first vice dean for students at USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences in November 2010. He is responsible for overseeing, expanding and ensuring the quality of student educational activities in the College, including student advisement, the new USC College-Keck School of Medicine Academic and Advising Program, College Freshman Seminars (First-Year Investigations), supplemental instruction, College admission, and The College Commons (the College’s signature speaker series program). Manahan also works closely with Vice Dean Steve Lamy to coordinate funding for the College’s hallmark student research programs, SOAR (Student Opportunities for Academic Research) and SURF (Student Undergraduate Research Fund).

Manahan is an internationally recognized researcher specializing in the physiology and environmental adaptation of marine animals. He has served as Chief Scientist for more than 20 scientific expeditions in the Antarctic and in the Pacific Ocean.

While a member of the faculty at USC, he has held various administrative positions, including: chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, dean of research in the College, and director of the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies. In 1994, Manahan founded the National Science Foundation–sponsored International Graduate Teaching Course in Antarctic Marine Biology, the first of its kind, and has served as director of the program for the last 16 years.

Nationally, he has served as chair of the U.S. National Academies Polar Research Board and on the National Science Foundation Decadal Group-Planning Committee for Ocean Sciences. He has also served on NSF Federal Advisory Committees to the Director, NSF's Office of Polar Programs.

Manahan earned his undergraduate science degree in zoology from Trinity College Dublin (The University of Dublin) and his Ph.D. from the University of Wales in Bangor, where he studied the environmental physiology of marine animals. From 1980 to 1983, he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Irvine, where he worked in the field of physiology and developmental biology. He also studied developmental and molecular biology of marine organisms at The California Institute of Technology.

In 2000, "Manahan Peak" in Antarctica was named in honor of his contributions to research and education on that continent. In 2001, he was appointed as a lifetime "National Associate" of the U.S. National Academies in recognition of his service to the nation in matters of science. In 2011, he was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his scientific contributions in the field of physiology.