New Director of SCMRE Appointed

Robert J. Koestler, new director of SCMREDr. Robert J. Koestler was appointed the new director of the Smithsonian Center for Materials Research and Education (SCMRE), effective August 30, 2004. Dr. Koestler is a cell biologist and electron microscopist known for his advancements in art conservation. He brings to the Smithsonian more than 30 years of museum experience, with an emphasis in the conservation of natural history collections and art objects. He has spent much of his career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Dr. Koestler is highly regarded as an excellent scientist and leader. As director, he will bring new research capabilities and focus to SCMRE's research and conservation and will work closely with the Smithsonian's museums. Dr. Koestler is known for his advancements in art conservation research, including quantification of biodeterioration and early detections systems, assessment of visual changes in material surfaces and control of insect and fungal infestations in objects. He developed a specialized method for eradicating these damaging organisms and has treated thousands of objects all over the world without harming the artworks or exposing conservators to dangerous chemicals. He has consulted on many projects worldwide for foundations, museums, collections and government conservation institutes and has served as an adjunct professor for New York University's Institute of Fine Arts Conservation Center. Dr. Koestler has appeared on the PBS program "Innovation and the BBC program "Nova" and is listed in the "Who's Who in Science and Engineering" in the 1993-1994 and 1995-1996 editions, and was featured in a recent Nature News article.