Jessica Hellmann is the director of the Institute on the Environment (IonE) at the University of Minnesota. She is also the Russell M. and Elizabeth M. Bennett Chair in Excellence in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior in the College of Biological Sciences.
Hellmann was on the faculty at the University of Notre Dame in the Department of Biological Sciences until 2015 and was a founding member of the Global Adaptation Initiative. She continues to collaborate with ND-GAIN as a core team member, mentoring several ND-GAIN researchers based at the University of Minnesota and elsewhere around the country.
Hellmann’s research focuses on global change ecology and climate adaptation. She was among the first to propose and study ways to reduce the impact of climate change through new techniques in conservation management. Hellmann led an important paradigm shift in ecology and natural resource management by showing that adaptation — living with climate change — is just as crucial to the future of humanity and Earth’s ecosystems as slowing and stopping greenhouse gas emissions. Her research and that of her students also has shown that differences in the way populations respond to climate change are key to predicting and managing their future.
She is an alumna of Stanford’s Leopold Leadership Program and a recipient of a career enhancement fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and the AAAS Leshner Leadership Institute for Public Engagement.