Genomic Science Program
U.S. Department of Energy | Office of Science | Biological and Environmental Research Program

Dorothy Koch Joins Biological and Environmental Research as Associate Director

September 21, 2023

Dear colleagues:

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Dorothy Koch will be joining the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science as the Associate Director of the Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program. Her official start date will be October 23, 2023.

Dr. Koch comes to BER from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), where she has been serving as the Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, Weather Program Office (WPO) Director.

In this position, Dr. Koch has led the WPO office, including 8 integrated programs, to fund research most essential for NOAA to meet its weather forecast mission utilizing next-generation facilities and infrastructure. The WPO provides funding for large contracts, grant programs, and direct awards to NOAA laboratories, private sector, and academic institutions.

Dr. Koch has garnered vast experience in:

  • management of scientific program development;
  • budget formulation and execution;
  • national, international, and cross-sector partnerships;
  • promoting and enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, and more.

Among Dr. Koch’s many accomplishments, she most recently developed a new WPO Strategic Plan, positioning the office to lead and fund the weather enterprise toward increasingly effective delivery of forecast systems, observational assets, and decision support. She has significantly enhanced the partnerships between weather research and NOAA operations, building numerous projects across these respective organizations, such as the Unified Forecast System Research to Operations Project that now generates NOAA’s operational forecast systems.

To meet recent pressing weather challenges, she has rallied support and research efforts to better predict atmospheric rivers, seasonal weather changes, and fireweather. She established a new approach to integrate social with physical science through a project to build and analyze a robust societal database documenting behaviors under flood conditions that will inform the development of better flood forecasts.

She spearheaded the Earth Prediction Innovation Center to support and engage the broad weather community to contribute to NOAA’s forecast systems. She also established a NOAA Modeling Team to coordinate and integrate the weather, climate, and marine modeling that spans the organization.

Dr. Koch is not new to the Office of Science. She previously served as a Program Manager for BER from 2010 to 2019 before joining NOAA. During her previous time at DOE, she 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.

Dr. Koch has received a:

  • NOAA Administrator’s Award for implementing and updating NOAA’s Air Quality Forecasting Capability;
  • DOE Secretarial Honor Award for the Accelerated Climate Model for Energy Project.

Dr. Koch is an international scholar with more than 80 publications in the areas of atmosphere, weather, climate, biochemistry, and earth system sciences.

With established research experience in atmospheric chemistry and its effects on Earth’s radiation budget and climate, 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.

Dr. Koch has demonstrated tremendous skills and leadership experience in atmospheric and earth system sciences, partnering across diverse organizations, as well as in the development of multidisciplinary research teams. We are thrilled to have her lead the BER program, and I hope you will join me in welcoming her back to the Office of Science.


Asmeret Asefaw Berhe
Director, Office of Science
U.S. Department of Energy

Harriet Kung
Deputy Director for Science Programs, Office of Science
U.S. Department of Energy

Juston Fontaine
Deputy Director for Operations, Office of Science
U.S. Department of Energy