Organizational Structure

MBRACE is a consortium of Mississippi’s four main research universities: Jackson State University (JSU), Mississippi State University (MSU), The University of Mississippi (UM), and The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), which serves as the lead institution for MBRACE. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is the state entity that oversees MBRACE.

Several groups are integral to the functioning of MBRACE and execution of the Core and Competitive Research Programs.

The MBRACE Director and Staff are USM employees who oversee the day-to-day functioning of MBRACE and have overall responsibility for the Core Research Program and Competitive Research Program. MBRACE staff are responsible for the proper functioning of the grants program, which includes reporting, financial accounting, and technical monitoring, development of the Requests for Proposals, and coordination with MDEQ, the Executive Steering Committee, External Advisory Group, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, and other Centers of Excellence and Gulf of Mexico funders. 


Dr. Kelly Darnell, MBRACE Director


Landry Bernard, MBRACE Chief Scientist


The Executive Steering Committee is comprised of voting membership from the four Mississippi research universities, with two members from the lead institution (USM), and ex officio representation from MDEQ and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. Members work with MBRACE staff to develop a Science Plan, help guide MBRACE activities and streamline communication between institutions and MBRACE staff, identify External Advisory Group members and review and approve the Requests for Proposals and program funding.

Current members of the Executive Steering Committee are:

J. Read Hendon (Chair), The University of Southern Mississippi

Jerry Wiggert, The University of Southern Mississippi

Robert Moorhead, Mississippi State University

Marc Slattery, University of Mississippi

Kamal Ali, Jackson State University

Chris Wells, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality

Paul Mickle, Mississippi Department of Marine Resources


Members of the External Advisory Group are technical and scientific experts with international reputations in fields relevant to the MBRACE Science Plan, whose role is to conduct year programmatic evaluations of MBRACE scientific accomplishments and activities. 

Members of the External Advisory Group are:

William Benson, Environmental Protection Agency (retired)         

Donald Boesch, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Sciences

          Thomas Soniat, University of New Orleans

          Gregory Steyer, U.S. Geological Survey

          Robert Twilley, Louisiana Sea Grant

The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium (MASGC) coordinates peer review for both the Core Research Program and Competitive Research Program.