Jo Handelsman is a soil microbiologist and the director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, an interdisciplinary institute for scientific research and innovation, and a professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She previously served as Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Obama. Her areas of expertise are microbiology, diversity in science, and STEM education. Her forthcoming book, A World Without Soil, explores the international soil crisis.