Enid MacRobbie 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.

2020 Winner: Asaph Aharoni

Asaph Aharoni is a Full Professor in the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at the Weizmann Institute of Sciences in Israel. Asaph has led a research group in this institution since 2005, during which time he has made substantial contributions to our understanding of how plants control the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites in time and space and how they employ and translate a vibrant chemical language to harmonize their own growth and reproduction with complex environmental parameters. Asaph has demonstrated outstanding multidisciplinary expertise that combines analytical chemistry, biochemistry, molecular genetics, computational biology and microbiology. This amalgamation of knowhow in a single laboratory represents a major driving force leading to key discoveries and technological breakthroughs in the field of metabolic biology. The more prominent scientific accomplishments of Asaph’s group include: (i) identifying and characterizing the first riboswitch element in plants, (ii) deciphering the mechanisms of cuticular layer assembly and epicuticular wax formation, (iii) elucidating the biosynthetic pathways and transcriptional control of Solanum alkaloids, and (iv) resolving the entire reaction steps of the cholesterol biosynthetic pathway in plants and its evolution from the phytosterol pathway. Asaph has also made significant contribution to advancing metabolomics methodologies through increasing the resolution and comprehensiveness of metabolic analysis and the development of computational tools for identifying metabolic gene clusters in plant genomes. Asaph also performs an impressive service to the international research community, carrying out a significant amount of editorial board work and manuscript reviewing.

2020 Winner: Hsou-min Li

Hsou-min Li holds a position as Distinguished Research Fellow at the Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica in Taipei,Taiwan. Hsou-min’s research has been devoted to unraveling the molecular mechanisms of chloroplast biogenesis, with a particular interest in protein import into chloroplasts. Protein import is fundamental to the biogenesis of the organelle because thousands of nucleus-encoded proteins must be imported and properly assembled for chloroplast function. Hsou-min’s group has made many important discoveries, including the identification of several key components in the protein import pathway, and a large part of what is known about the process of protein targeting to the outer envelope membrane derives from her  work. This includes determining the 3-dimensional structure of the Toc34 protein, the first component of the chloroplast protein import machinery. More recently, her work on the relationship between chloroplast and bacterial protein targeting systems has been transformational in providing molecular evidence for the evolutionary adaptation of chloroplasts from their endosymbiotic ancestors. In addition to her outstanding scientific contributions, Hsou-min has continously served the scientific community, being on the editorial boards of ASPB journals and providing insighful review articles for the journals. She is currently serving as a supervising editor for Plant Direct.

2020 Winner: Hitoshi Sakakibara

Hitoshi Sakakibara is a professor at Nagoya University in –Japan, where he serves as Deputy Director of the Institute for Advanced Research. Hitoshi is renowned for his work on the molecular mechanisms underlying nutrient-responsive regulation of plant growth and development, and in particular he is recognized among the world leaders in the study of cytokinins. His pioneering work started with the elucidation of the cytokinin biosynthesis pathway and the identification of its key genes and continued with deciphering how nitrogen nutrition status regulates cytokinin biosynthesis and transport. Hitoshi‘s work shed light for the first time on the biological meaning of the structural variation among cytokinins and how trans-hydroxylation of cytokinin in roots is involved in fine-tuning shoot growth and architecture. The fundamental knowledge generated by Hitoshi‘s group set the stage for new strategies aimied at designing low-N input/stable output agriculture. More recently, Hitoshi‘s work has focused on the identification of novel signaling molecules acting as plant growth and development regulators, with an emphasis on phytohormone mimics produced by phytopathogens. The outcome of this work is anticipated to lead to the identification of novel endogenous signaling molecules in plants and therefore to the development of new agrochemicals. Hitoshi has been recognized as a highly cited scientist by ISI for six consecutive years (2014-2019), and he has been acknowledged as an ASPB Top Author. He also contributes to the plant science community as editor-in-chief of Plant and Cell Physiology (2016 to present), a handling editor for the Journal of Experimental Botany (2011-2016), and a guest editor for  The Plant Cell (2016 to present).

Mondher Bouzayen, Chair (2017-2021)
Jaswinder Singh, past winner (2019-2023)
Marilyn Anderson (2020-2024)
George Coupland (2020-2024)
Keiko Sugimoto (2020-2024)
Sylvia Lee, Staff Liaison