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.

2018 Winner: Hiroo Fukuda

Hiroo Fukuda is a professor at the Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science at The University of Tokyo, where he has mentored many Ph.D. students and postdocs who are currently PIs in plant science throughout the world. He is a leader in plant cell development with his focus on vascular tissue formation. In the 1970s, he established Zinnia tracheary element cell culture and, later, Arabidopsis thaliana as model systems for studying development, and he has used these systems to make groundbreaking contributions to understanding stem cell differentiation, including the roles of phytohormones, programmed cell death, and secondary cell wall formation, also at the molecular level. He has published 170 original research papers, among them 24 in ASPB journals, as well as 40 reviews and 16 book chapters. Many of his contributions are highly cited, and he has received a number of prestigious awards. Hiroo has contributed significantly to the plant science community by serving as Editor-in-Chief for Plant Cell and Physiology and as President of the Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists. In a broader sense he has served as Dean and Vice-President of his university, as well as President of the Botanical Society in Japan, as a member of the Science Council of Japan, and as Program Director at the Research Center for Scientific Systems. For his long-term commitment to research resulting in important achievements and for his dedication to professional societies, Hiroo deserves to be elected as a Corresponding Member of ASPB.


2018 Winner: Thomas Higgins

Thomas J. Higgins is retired but still heads an active research group at the Division of Plant Industry of the CSIRO in Canberra, where he has been working for 36 years – the last 8 as Deputy Chief. He has made important contributions in plant biology research, being the first to show alfa-amylase transcript induction by gibberellic acid, a report that was published in Nature in 1976. This finding guided Thomas’s primary research interest, which is to understand the synthesis and regulation of storage proteins in legumes. He also discovered the effect of sulfur stress on protein synthesis in developing alfalfa seeds. Thomas made relevant technological contributions, including developing an efficient transformation method for cowpea (Vigna unguiculata), an important legume in Africa, and other legumes. Exceptionally, he followed a biotechnological development from its very beginning in a research lab all the way to field trials and the distribution to farmers, including dealing with difficulties with patent issues and biosafety authorities. This was the case for the generation of transgenic cowpea expressing Cry1Ab and/or Cry2A and VIP resistant to the cowpea pod borer. For these efforts he has been acknowledged with major honors. Thomas has also dedicated time to support science communication in public and political forums, in particular for decision makers. His selection to become a Corresponding Member of ASPB is appropriate and highly deserved.

2018 Winner: Barry Pogson

Barry Pogson is Deputy Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology of the Australian National University, Canberra. He has made relevant contributions to the field of chloroplast retrograde signals and their roles in the regulation of plant responses to adverse environments, such as drought, and in identifying the genes for carotenoid synthesis, pigments required for photosynthetic performance during oxidative stress and development.

Barry is recognized as a highly cited scientist by ISI and by ASPB. He has carried out duties as senior editor for The Plant Cell for a decade, and he has been acknowledged as an ASPB Top Author. He has been engaged with the international plant community by being involved in the Global Plant Council, the Plant Science Research Network, and Plantae, as well as being a member of the Multinational Arabidopsis Steering Committee. With these activities Barry has actively contributed to policy and funding issues of relevance to the global plant science community and ASPB in particular. This includes development of white papers on nutritional enhancement of foods, organization of forums on biofortification and new breeding technologies, and the authoring of policy statements on genome editing. Significantly, members of his lab received multiple national and international awards for research, mentoring and teaching excellence, demonstrating Barry’s contributions to support future generations of plant scientists. Barry’s achievements endorse his merit as an excellent candidate for the ASPB Corresponding Member Award.

Mondher Bouzayen, Chair (2017-2021)
Jaswinder Singh, past winner (2019-2023)
Alejandra Covarrubias (2016-2020)
Wataru Sakamoto (2016-2020)
Jian-Kang Zhu (2016-2020)
Sylvia Lee, Staff Liaison