Corresponding Membership

This honor, initially given in 1932, provides life membership and Society publications to distinguished plant biologists from outside the United States. The honor is conferred by election on the annual ballot. The committee selects no more than three (3) candidates, and these are placed on the ballot for approval of corresponding membership by majority vote. The president notifies successful candidates of their election. Election of a corresponding member is to be considered each year, and held if warranted, provided the election will not increase the number of corresponding members beyond two (2) percent of the dues-paying membership. Membership is required for this award.

Ikuko Hara Nishimura2016 Winner: Ikuko Hara-Nishimura

Ikuko Hara-Nishimura is professor in the Department of Botany, Kyoto University. She is an excellent plant cell biologist whose research program has covered an impressive range of topics. Her work on transport of proteins to the vacuole and particularly the discovery of vacuolar processing enzymes (VPEs) is regarded as seminal. VPEs, which belong to a large family of cysteine endopeptidases, are widely distributed in the vacuoles of plant tissues and involved in the activation and processing of a range of proteins. She found that many of the downstream effects of VPE activity have widely divergent effects on developmental processes, such as cell death and seed coat formation. She also greatly expanded our knowledge of the plant endomembrane system by showing the dynamics of ER-to-Golgi transport, the organization of the ER, and the role of the cytoskeleton in ER function. Her group was the first to identify novel ER bodies and their role in responses to pathogens and abiotic stress. Work in her laboratory on myosin XI, a myosin-class protein found in plants, led to the discovery that cytoplasmic streaming is regulated by an interaction between the ER, myosin XI, and F-actin. Furthermore, her group has also advanced the functioning of other subcellular compartments, including the roles of oil bodies in the synthesis of many important lipids, the role of the nuclear pore and myosin XI in the organization of the nucleus, the role of the vacuole in plant cell death, and the distribution of stomata. This is an impressive range of accomplishments that have significantly advanced the field of plant cell biology. Ikuko has received a number of awards, including the Japan Society of Plant Physiologists Award in 2013 and the Medal with Purple Ribbon from the Japanese government for outstanding scientists in 2014. She has served ASPB through her role as co editor of The Plant Cell, and she was president of the Japan Society of Plant Physiologists (JSPP) in 2014-2015. Notably, she was the first female elected to this post in the history of JSPP.

Jian Feng Ma2016 Winner: Jian-Feng Ma

Jian-Feng is a professor at the Institute of Plant Science and Resources, Okayama University, Japan. Jian-Feng is recognized internationally for his pioneering work on and discoveries of a number of important plant transporters for mineral elements, including transporters for essential, beneficial, and toxic elements in plants. Most noteworthy is his work on the identification of both silicon (Si) influx and efflux transporters in rice, which provided the first evidence for polar localization of transporters in plants that mediate efficient uptake and translocation of the beneficial mineral Si. Recently, he published novel research on the molecular and biochemical mechanisms that control the distribution of mineral elements between different vascular bundles within the nodes of graminaceous plants. Jian-Feng is also a world leader on the molecular and physiological bases for aluminum resistance in plants and has identified a number of key and novel aluminum (and other toxic metal) tolerance genes, especially in rice and barley. He received his PhD in plant nutrition from Kyoto University, Japan. He has garnered a number of awards, the most significant being the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Prize in 2006 and the Japan Academy Medal in 2006. He was recently selected by Thomson Reuters as one of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds for 2015 in the area of Plant and Animal Sciences.

Jian-Feng has been a long-standing member of the American Society of Plant Biologists, and he was recently selected as one of the Society’s Top Authors in 2015, based on his highly cited papers in both The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology (one of nine top authors in Asia).

Widmar Tanner2016 Winner: Widmar Tanner

Widmar is professor at the University of Regensburg, Germany, now in emeritus status but still very active; he has been an ASPB member since 1971. He has published more than 200 papers, reviews, and books in various fields of biology, including pioneering work on membrane transporters, sugar transfer reactions, and long-distance transport. In particular, he has advanced our understanding of plasma membrane subcompartments (raft-like domains) and their importance for transport processes. In addition, and of high importance regarding public attitudes toward GMO crops in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, he contributed immensely to rationalize these discussions. Widmar’s scientific achievements have been recognized through election to learned societies, including EMBO, the German Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, and the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. Widmar provided important service to the plant science community in leadership positions, such as vice president of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG; the German equivalent of the U.S. National Science Foundation) from 1993 to 1997 and as speaker of two Priority Collaborative Research Centers (SFB) spanning 1981 to 2004. He also served on important advisory boards, including for the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Research Center boards, the Daimler-Benz foundation, and the election committee for the Leibniz Prize (Germany’s highest monetary science award of up to 2.5 million Euro). At the University of Regensburg he contributed important service as dean and vice president of research. Widmar belongs to the top tier of plant biologists worldwide.


Hiroo Fukuda, Chair (2013-2017)
Renate Scheibe (2015-2019)
Alejandra Covarrubias (2016-2020)
Wataru Sakamoto (2016-2020)
Jian Kang Zhu (2016-2020)
Sylvia Lee, Staff Liaison

Nominations & Deadlines

The Corresponding Membership Award will be offered again in 2017. Please check the nominations page in January 2017 to make a nomination.

Past Winners
Renate Scheibe
Kazuo Shinozaki

Cathie Martin
Carl Douglas
Su-May Yu

Luis Herrera-Estrella
Susanne von Caemmerer
Youngsook Lee

Frank Gubler
Agepati Raghavendra

Carlos S. Andreo
Jiayang Li
Geoffrey B. Fincher
Hartmut Lichtenthaler
Sudhir K. Sopory

Murray Ronald Badger
William J. Davies

Chu-Yung Lin
Federico Sánchez
Alessandro Vitale

J. Derek Bewley
Wilhelm Gruissem
Patricia M. Léon

Gynheung An
Jurgen Denecke
Rana Munns

Masamitsu Wada

Peter Hedden
Joseph Hirschberg
Yukiko Sasaki

Yuji Kamiya
Christopher Leaver
Horacio Pontis

Göran Sandberg

Myroslawa Miginiac-Maslow
Pierre M. Gadal
John V. Jacobsen
*Bruce Stone

Anthony J. Trewavas

Marshall D. Hatch
Harry Smith

Estela Sanchez de Jimenez
Vladimir A. Shuvalov

Hans Walter Heldt
Maarten Koorneef

Roland Douce
Jan E. Graebe

1994 and prior
*Takashi Akazawa
Paulo de T. Alvim
Nikolaus Amrhein
N. Keith Boardman
Jack Dainty
L.N.M. Duysens
Lloyd T. Evans
Graham Farquhar
*Leslie Fowden
Masaki Furuya
T. W. Goodwin
Klaus Hahlbrock
Rainer Hertel
*Noburo Kamiya
A. J. Keys
Andrej L. Kursanov
Agu Laisk
Claude Lance
Jake MacMillan
E.A.C. MacRobbie
Phillippe Matile
Benjamin Miflin
Alexis Moyse
Mirjana Neskovic
*Rutherford Ness Robertson
Hiroh Shibaoka
Ralph O. Slatyer
Tatsuo Sugiyama
Nobutaka Takahashi
Akira Tanaka
Pei-Sung Tang
Masashi Tazawa
*Ikuzo Uritani
Marc Van Montagu
David Alan Walker
Malcolm Wilkins