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News Article

Five Cornell U Researchers Named Fellows of AAAS

Five members of the Cornell faculty, including two scientists at the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) for Plant Research on the Cornell campus, have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, which names the new fellows in its latest edition.

Five members of the Cornell faculty, including two scientists at the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) for Plant Research on the Cornell campus, have been named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science, which names the new fellows in its latest edition.

The five Cornellians honored are Gregory B. Martin, professor of plant pathology and a member of BTI's scientific staff; Susan McCouch, professor of plant breeding and genetics; Ralph L. Obendorf, professor of crop and soil sciences; Roger M. Spanswick, professor of biological and environmental engineering; and David B. Stern, adjunct professor of plant molecular genetics and president of BTI.

They are among the 308 scientists named fellows this year. The new fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue rosette pin (representing science and engineering, respectively) on Feb. 19 at the Fellows Forum during the 2005 AAAS annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

The AAAS was founded in 1848, and serves some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. The tradition of AAAS fellows began in 1874.

Martin was cited for molecular and biochemical characterization of recognition and signal transduction events involved in plant disease resistance and susceptibility. Martin joined the BTI and Cornell faculties in 1998, and his research focuses on the interactions between plants and the bacteria that prey on them. Martin previously received a David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowship and is recognized on the ISIHighlyCited.com Web site as one of the most-cited authors in the fields of plant and animal science. His research is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

McCouch was cited for distinguished contributions to plant breeding, especially the application of modern biotechnology to improve rice varieties for use by small farmers in developing countries. Her work has pioneered the development and utilization of molecular markers to identify favorable genes and quantitative trait loci (QTL) from wild and exotic Oryza species that enhance the performance of rice varieties throughout the world. She served as a senior scientist at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines for five years before joining the Cornell faculty in 1995. She has a Ph.D. in plant breeding and genetics (1990) from Cornell and an M.S. in plant pathology (1982) from the University of Massachusetts. She currently serves as an editor for Genetics and has received numerous honors as an outstanding researcher, teacher and mentor. Her research is funded by the NSF, the USDA and the Rockefeller Foundation.

Obendorf was cited for excellence in seed biology, for contributions to undergraduate teaching and for mentoring many students. Obendorf joined the Cornell faculty in 1966. His seed biology research emphasizes health-related compounds in seeds potentially useful for the treatment of type II diabetes, metabolism of cyclitols and cyclitol galactosides in plants and seeds, and desiccation tolerance in seeds. Obendorf has mentored numerous students, several of them now Polish scientists holding prominent positions internationally. He teaches courses in grains and nutraceuticals, seed biology, special topics and undergraduate research. He trains three to 12 undergraduate students in research each semester, for which he is internationally recognized. Among numerous awards, Obendorf has received the Seed Science Award from the Crop Science Society of America, an honorary doctorate from the University of Warmia and Mazuri in Poland, the Marilyn Williams Award by the Cornell Undergraduate Research Board for service and dedication for promoting undergraduate research, and multiple teaching awards.

Spanswick was cited for contributions to the understanding of the role of proton transport in plant cell electrophysiology and the co-transport of ions, sugars, and amino acids. He has been a faculty member in the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences since 1967. He received his Ph.D. in biophysics from the University of Edinburgh in 1964 and was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Cambridge. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1981 and is recognized by ISIHighlyCited.com as a most-cited scientist in the fields of plant and animal science. He is a former member of the editorial board of Plant Physiology and of the review board of Plant, Cell and Environment.

Stern studies how various classes of plants sense and respond to stresses such as nutrient deficiencies -- information that could eventually lead to more-efficient fertilizer use. He joined the BTI staff as an assistant scientist in 1989, after completing a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of California-Berkeley and earning a Ph.D. in biological sciences (1986) at Stanford University. The author or co-author of more than 95 scientific publications, Stern has served as an editor at the journals Plant Cell and Plant Molecular Biology. He has taught courses in plant molecular biology and gene regulation. His honors include being named a Guggenheim Fellow and an NSF National Young Investigator.

Article details

  • Date
  • 09 November 2004
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