Fellow of ASPB Award

Established in 2007, the Fellow of ASPB award may be granted in recognition of distinguished and long-term contributions to plant biology and service to the Society by current members in areas that include research, education, mentoring, outreach, and professional and public service. Current members of ASPB who have contributed to the Society for at least 10 years are eligible for nomination. Recipients of the Fellow of ASPB honor, which may be granted to no more than 0.2% of the current membership each year, receive a certificate of distinction and a lapel pin.


Jim Birchler

Jim (University of Missouri, Columbia) has made significant contributions to diverse aspects of plant genetics and plant genetic engineering, ranging from the development of mini-chromosomes and chromosome painting techniques to elucidating the mechanisms underlying centromere activation/inactivation.  By analyzing gene expression and measured traits in aneuploids and polyploids, and in their hybrids, he derived the Gene Balance Hypothesis, an encompassing concept that can explain hybrid vigor (heterosis), as well as evolutionary selection in polyploids and in duplicated genes. Jim’s service to ASPB is extensive: he has been an editorial board member of The Plant Cell for over 14 years, and since 2015 has been a member of the Advisory Committee (as the Genetics Society of America representative) of the Plant Science Research Network. He is a superb teacher and is especially renowned for his depiction of Gregor Mendel (in costume and in character) in his Genetics class, for which he was named a “Teaching Legend” at Mizzou.

Ed Cahoon

Ed (University of Nebraska, Lincoln) is a highly regarded senior faculty member both within Nebraska’s Department of Biochemistry and across the institution. He has made sustained and distinguished contributions to the general field of plant lipid research, and he has directly served ASPB at both the national and regional levels. Ed has been a monitoring Editor of Plant Physiology. He has also served as the Vice Chair and Chair of the large Midwestern Section of ASPB and as the Section’s representative to the ASPB Executive Committee and Council. Additionally, Ed was affiliated with the ASPB Membership Committee. He has made fundamental discoveries related to the elucidation of biochemical pathways and associated genes for unusual fatty acids in the plant kingdom. In addition, Ed has made significant contributions to plant lipid biotechnology and championed the translation of these basic discoveries for oilseed enhancement and crop biofortification.

Anja Geitman

Anja (McGill University, Quebec, Canada) is world-renowned for her work in the cell biology of the pollen tube, work that addresses biomechanical aspects, such as how cell shape is determined, and how materials are secreted appropriately to direct cell growth. Anja is also fearless in establishing collaborations with engineers and physicists to advance understanding of plant cell growth.  Anja has served ASPB and the plant biology community, as an officer (currently president) of the Canadian Society of Plant Biologists, as a Member of Program Committees for the ASPB/CSPB joint meetings, and as an editor for Plant Physiology since 2013.  She has had leadership roles for the Microscopical Society of Canada and the International Association for Plant Sexual Reproduction Research. Anja has also made significant contributions in conveying her excitement about plant cell biology to the public.

Maureen Hanson

Maureen (Cornell University, Ithaca) is a leader in plant organelle biology, and she has been involved in modifying chloroplast and mitochondrial gene expression, as well as working to enhance plastid carbon fixation.  She is a long-time member of ASPB and has served on many committees, including the Bogorad Award Committee and the Board of Trustees.  Maureen has also served as a reviewer for ASPB journals, as well as a reviewer and editor for other society journals.

Gregg Howe

Gregg (Michigan State University, East Lansing) is well known for his research on understanding the mechanisms underpinning plant resistance to insect herbivores. His group identified the nature of the jasmonic acid receptor and how it regulates gene expression. Gregg is a longstanding member of ASPB; he served as a Monitoring Editor for Plant Physiology for 11 years, and he was also a member of the Early Career Award Committee. Gregg has been a reviewer and editor for other society journals as well.

Joe Kieber

Joe (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) is an international leader in phytohormone research, uncovering diverse and novel aspects of ethylene and cytokinin synthesis and perception. His clever and creative approaches have resulted in over 103 peer-reviewed publications in plant science and numerous scientific awards and honors.  Joe’s collegial leadership and service to ASPB includes being a member of the ASPB Board of Directors, an elected Council Member, and a Senior Editor at The Plant Cell.

Dan Kliebenstein

Dan (University of California, Davis) is a leader in elucidating how genotype controls phenotype. His research involves detailed, critical, and elegant analyses of secondary metabolism, impacts of transcriptional regulation and genetic variation in primary metabolism, and the genetic variations in generalist pathogens and their influence on distinct hosts.  Dan is also a wonderful mentor and passionate colleague, providing substantial service to the larger community of plant biologists.  His service to ASPB has primarily been through his editorial positions with The Plant Cell.

J. Clark Lagarias

Clark (University of California, Davis) has made multiple ground-breaking discoveries over the course of his 30-plus years as a plant biochemist. Nearly all his independent research relates to understanding light perception and signal transduction by the phytochrome superfamily of light absorbing molecules in plants and, more recently, in microbes.  He is co-author of over 140 published papers, and his outstanding research is well known for its innovative approaches and applications.  Clark has served the ASPB community as an editorial board member for The Plant Cell, the organizer of a major Plant Biology symposium, and a member of the Eric E. Conn Young Investigator Award Committee.

Cathie Martin

Cathie (John Innes Centre and University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK) is well known for her earlier research on cellular specialization in plants and on the phenylpropanoid pathway.  More recently her studies have focused on the relationship between diet and food, as well as developing healthier plants and plant products for human consumption and use.  She is a long-standing member of ASPB, serving in the society in many ways, and particularly as editor-in-chief of The Plant Cell for 7 years.  A novel feature for ASPB that Cathie introduced is Teaching Tools in Plant Biology, which serves the entire plant biology community.

Blake Meyers

Blake (University of Missouri and Donald Danforth Plant Science Center) is a leader in the field of small RNA biology. His recent interests include the set of plant-specific, phased, secondary siRNAs that are triggered from mRNA target transcripts. His current work also focuses on dissecting small RNA functions and biogenesis in Arabidopsis, maize, soybean, rice, asparagus, tomato, and numerous other plants, ranging from crops to gymnosperms to models to species of interest purely for evolutionary reasons. Blake’s contributions to the plant biology community and ASPB span more than 20 years, including extensive editorial service (e.g., as an editorial board member for The Plant Cell), high-impact organizational and service activities, and training and instruction both in and out of the classroom.

Eran Pichersky

Eran is a pioneer in investigating the biochemical pathways involved in the production of plant volatiles, the enzymes that catalyze their production, and the genes that encode these enzymes. In particular, Eran is a world expert on the large and diverse family of plant terpene synthases. He has collaborated extensively and thereby influenced numerous scientists beyond those in his own lab.  His service contributions to the plant biology community are numerous; he was a long-time editorial board member at The Plant Journal, as well as for other plant journals, and since 2014 he has served as a Monitoring Editor for Plant Physiology. Eran is co-chairing a symposium at Plant Biology 2017, and he has twice served as a USDA grant panel manager. Eran received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2015 and used it to write a book, “War and Plants”, in which he surveys historical, botanical, and geographical influences to explain how plant biochemistry influenced human history. The scope and depth of Eran’s science and service are truly impressive.

Daniel Schachtman

Throughout his career, Daniel (University of Nebraska, Lincoln) has achieved important and lasting advances and breakthroughs in his research on abiotic stress and plant nutrition physiology. Furthermore, he has produced significant advances through his work in industry. Daniel’s contributions to discovery-based and translational research to improve crop yield under abiotic stress, foster agricultural sustainability, and enhance environmental protection are impressive. He joined ASPB in 1990 and has served the Society on the ASPB Women in Plant Biology Committee, the Lawrence Bogorad Award Committee, and as a Monitoring Editor for Plant Physiology, as well as an ad hoc reviewer for Plant Physiology and The Plant Cell. He is proactive on behalf of ASPB, and he served as ASPB’s representative on the Council of Agricultural Science and Technology.

David Smyth

David (Monash University, Victoria, Australia) has uniquely influenced analysis of flower development, initially by contributing to development of the ABC model for flower development, and more recently by studying other transcription factor families involved in flower morphogenesis.  David served on the editorial board of The Plant Cell for more than 12 years, and he was active in recruiting new members to the board, on which he continues to serves as a Consulting Editor. David has also served as an editor for The Plant Journal and Trends in Plant Science, and early on was active in promoting Arabidopsis as a model, serving on the Multinational Arabidopsis Steering Committee for 6 years.

Daniel Szymanski

Daniel (Purdue University, West Lafayette) is a respected member of the international community of plant scientists He has performed enormous amounts of service to ASPB, as well as to the U.S. research community through his editorial duties and his role as organizer and host of a major plant cell biology conference. Dan’s research program centers on the elucidation of genetic pathways that control plant cell shape. This has significance and potential impact for agriculture and the national economy in the form of developing potential biofuels feedstocks, understanding host-pathogen interactions, and improving crop plant biomass. He has been a monitoring editor of Plant Physiology and regularly participates as a speaker and/or session chair at Plant Biology meetings. Dan has also been a tireless advocate for plant science by serving on more than a dozen federal grant panels.

Marguerite (Rita) Varagona

Rita (Monsanto, St. Louis) investigates the biotechnology of quality traits and is currently the Herbicide Tolerance Platform Lead at Monsanto.  Rita has been a member of ASPB since 1982, and is one of few industry scientists who has served on the ASPB Executive Committee.  She is actively involved in bridging the gap between academic and industry scientists. Rita is also an advocate for the participation of women and minority students in plant science through her participation in career development workshops, and she has worked with Monsanto, Together, an outreach program, to inform elementary and middle school students about plant science and careers.

Richard Vierstra

Rick (Washington University, St. Louis) is an outstanding scholar and mentor who has made distinguished and sustained contributions to three broad areas of plant biology: the ubiquitin-proteasome system, autophagy, and phytochrome structure and signaling. He approaches problems with all available tools, and his research articles are characterized by an unusual depth and thoroughness.  In addition, Rick has taken on diverse and increasing leadership roles in ASPB.  He has organized several symposia, served on the Plant Physiology editorial board, the Program Committee, several prize committees, the Executive Committee, and the Board of Trustees.


Eran Pichersky, Chair (2017-2020)
Ann Hirsch (2015-2018)
Sheila McCormick (2016-2019)
Ed Cahoon (2017-2020)

Sylvia Lee, Staff Liaison

Nominations & Deadlines

The Fellow of ASPB Award will be offered again in 2018. Please check the nominations page in January 2018 to make a nomination.

Past Winners

C. Robin Buell
Krishna K. Niyogi
Bijay Singh
MariaElena Zavala

Caren Chang
Keiko Torii

Eduardo Blumwald
Janet Braam
Tuan-Hua David Ho
Norman G. Lewis
Gloria K. Muday
Robert E. Sharp
Christopher Staiger

Raymond Chollet
John Cushman
John Harada
Jeffrey Harper
Sally Mackenzie
Susan Wessler

Judy Callis
Karen Koch
Danny Schnell
Elizabeth Vierling
Eleanore Wurtzel

Bonnie Bartel
Gerald Edwards
Sheila McCormick
Katherine Osteryoung
Linda Walling

Julia Bailey-Serres
Mark Brodl
Alice Cheung
Gloria Coruzzi
Elizabeth Hood
Elliot Myerowitz
A.S.N. Reddy
Stan Roux
Gary Stacey
David Stern

Peter Albersheim
Richard Amasino
Clanton Black
Haans Bohnert
Rebecca Boston
Robert Harza Burris
Nick Carpita
Vicki Chandler
Eric Conn
Roland Douce
Pamela Green
Mary Lou Guerinot
Alan Jones
Robert Last
Peggy G. Lemaux
Carl Leopold
Stephen Long
C. Robertson McClung
John Ohlrogge
Mel Oliver
Federico Sanchez
Lawrence Schrader
Edgar Spalding
Michael Thomashow
Mary Tierney
Carroll Vance
Kathryn VandenBosch
Larry N. Vanderhoef

Dan Bush
Jerry Cohen
Sabeeha Merchant
Jack Preiss

Charles Arntzen
Sally Assmann
Neil Baker
Wendy Boss
John Boyer
Winslow Briggs
Bob Buchanan
Joe Cherry
Maarten Chrispeels
Adrienne Clarke
Robert Cleland
Mary Clutter
Dan Cosgrove
Deborah Delmer
Machi Dilworth
Arthur Galston
Elisabeth Gantt
Robert Goldberg
Mary Helen Goldsmith
Wilhelm Gruissem
Thomas Guilfoyle
Roger Hangarter
Peter Hepler
Ann Hirsch
Thomas K. Hodges
Steven Huber
Andre Jagendorf
Russell Jones
Rich Jorgensen
Kenneth Keegstra
Joe Key
Leon Kochian
Brian Larkins
Christopher Leaver
Sharon Long
William Lucas
William Ogren
Don Ort
Bernard Phinney
Ralph Quatrano
Robert Rabson
Natasha Raikhel
Doug Randall
Clarence “Bud” Ryan
Thomas Sharkey
James Siedow
Chris R. Somerville
L. Andrew Staehelin
Heven Sze
Lincoln Taiz
Tony Trewavas
Masamitsu Wada
Jan Zeevaart