Pioneer Member

Karen Koch

Wayne Avigne
David Braun & Paula McSteen
Dennis Brown
Nick Carpita & Maureen McCann
Christine Chase
Joe Collins
John Davis
Andrea Eveland
Jiahn-Chou Guan
Christopher Gunter
L. Curtis Hannah
Li-Fen Huang
Charles Hunter
Peng Liu
Chung-An Lu
Mark Lubkowitz
Steve Moose
Sylvia Morais de Sousa Tinoco
Brent O’Brien
Anna-Lisa Paul
Gary Peter
Bala Rathinasabapathi
Hardy Rolletschek
Maria Sanclemente
Jonathan Saunders
Pamela & Douglas Soltis
Masaharu Suzuki
Bao-Cai Tan
Cliff Weil

Anonymous Donors

Wayne Avigne – I had the great honor and privilege to work with Karen for some 35 years. She is the most amazing caring compassionate person I’ve known. An intellectual who helped me be a better person and advancing my knowledge and understanding of the sciences.

David Braun & Paula McSteen – Karen is an outstanding scientist who has made seminal contributions to our understanding of sugars regulating gene expression and metabolism, plant responses to hypoxia, diverse aspects of hormone biology, advances in maize genetics and kernel biology, and so much more! She is a terrific colleague, collaborator, mentor, and friend.

John Davis – Karen is an ideal faculty colleague and an ideal mentor to the next generation of thought leaders. Her pioneering leadership toward a mechanistic understanding of sugar metabolism emerged from her creative integration of the disciplines of plant biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics. She has made outstanding contributions to science, and to society.

Andrea Eveland – Karen was an inspirational mentor. Years later, there is always a little bit of Karen that comes through in how I mentor my own trainees. She is honest, creative and fair, and little tips I learned from her have been invaluable in many aspects of my career. Karen has been a dedicated and passionate member and supporter for ASPB for many years and so is incredibly deserving of this honor. Congrats Karen!

Jiahn-Chou Guan – Sugars are central to a plant’s raison d’etre. None can explain it better than Dr. Karen Koch. Her insights on carbohydrate metabolism and sugar signaling shed a bright light on the avenue for many plant scientists working on this key subject in plant biology. Her profession and passion for mentoring keeps inspiring many undergraduate or graduate students from diverse backgrounds to join the community of plant biology.

Curt Hannah – It is a pleasure to help recognize Karen Koch as a Pioneer in the American Society of Plant Biologists. Her service to the plant community at large as well as to the ASPB itself is exemplary. Interactions with Karen over the years have certainly made me a better scientist. A life-long friend and colleague, there are many memories to share. At a personal level, I remember fondly working on a grant at 3 AM in the morning. Our mantra that night was “You know the agency wants to fund us!!” Unfortunately, we had to wait another round to get the initial funding for the Uniform-Mu project. And I remember a graduate student in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin to whom Karen introduced me. Karen thought he would be a great post-doc in my lab. Karen was right. And it worked out well for Karen as well. This formal recognition of Karen’s career and service is certainly well deserved.

Li-Fen Huang – I am writing to whole heartedly praise Dr. Karen Koch for her remarkable contributions to the realm of plant physiology, specifically in the area of sugar sensing and partitioning. A true luminary in her field, Dr. Koch has made a significant and lasting impact on both the academic and professional paths of many students, myself included. Her dedication, expertise, and fervor for her work and life are both inspiring and transformative.

During my Ph D training at the University of Florida, I was fortunate to study under Dr. Koch. From the outset, her enthusiasm and commitment to teaching were evident and unparalleled. Armed with profound knowledge of plant physiology, Dr. Koch has the extraordinary ability to distill complex concepts into comprehensible and engaging lectures. Her teaching style cultivates a dynamic and interactive learning environment, where students are spurred to inquire, think critically, and explore novel concepts. Her palpable passion for teaching not only inspired me but also motivated me to delve deeper into the subject matter and strive for academic excellence.

Beyond the confines of the classroom, Dr. Koch consistently proves herself as an exemplary mentor and role model. Her genuine investment in her students’ personal and professional growth is commendable. She is always readily accessible and willing to dedicate her time and energy towards helping her students succeed. Dr. Koch possesses the unique ability to identify the strengths and areas for improvement of each student, tailoring her mentorship approach to their specific needs. Her guidance has been an invaluable asset in shaping my academic path and career.

Dr. Karen Koch is a paragon of academic excellence, mentorship, and research. Her unyielding commitment to academic excellence, combined with her sincere concern for her students’ well-being and growth, distinguishes her as a true pioneer in her field. I am profoundly grateful for having had the opportunity to learn from her, and can affirm with confidence that her influence has been transformative and enduring on my academic journey and career aspirations. I endorse Dr. Karen Koch without reservation.

Shai Lawit – Karen was a pivotal influence and advocate for me early in my scientific career. She was a teacher, mentor and committee member during my graduate career. Her commitment didn’t end there, as she later provided key networking and career building opportunities. These examples have guided me as a leader in my career, showing me how to be a better leader, mentor and advocate for those coming up behind me. Karen’s commitment to the ASPB and its journals serves as a guiding light as to what it means to foster the community. These qualities, paired with her keen scientific mind and intellect, are what make Karen Koch a shining example of our great ASPB Pioneers.

Damon Lisch – Karen Koch has been an enormous asset to the community of plant biologists (particular maize geneticists). Her work on carbon partitioning in plants has been enormously influential, as has her impact on legions of graduate and undergraduate students. Karen is the kind of scientist that makes our community a community rather than an isolated set of researchers and teachers.

Steve Moose – Karen’s contributions to ASPB and plant science are certainly pioneering. She is always willing to share with enthusiasm her deep knowledge of plant physiology and metabolism. Many current successful plant scientists have benefitted from Karen’s mentoring. Whether it is ASPB committee work, a conference, a seminar visit, or a research collaboration, Karen’s presence always makes the experience more enjoyable

Sylvia Morais de Sousa Tinoco – I met Dr. Koch during an ASPB meeting in 2005, when I was a graduate student from Brazil looking for a postdoc. I really appreciated her work on sugar metabolism, and I was very happy that she accepted me as a postdoc! I got a grant to go to the University of Florida and worked with her for 2.5 years in Gainesville. She was a great mentor and friend: always supportive, curious and careful! She was very open to new ideas and experiments! She stimulated all the students to go to meetings and get involved in different societies. She is an inspiration to me and I am sure I am a better mentor because of her. Thank you for everything, Karen!

Brent O’Brien – Karen is a top-notch scientist, wonderful mentor, and just an overall great lady. I owe much of my career success to the attention to detail, scientific rigor, and inquisitive way of thinking that Karen passed on to me as a student.

Gary Peter – I have been colleague of Karen’s for many years and have enjoyed many stimulating discussions with her. Her enthusiasm for science and ability to support students and postdocs growth are remarkable and inspiring.

Bala Rathinasabapathi – Dr. Koch is a pioneer in exploring the intricacies of starch metabolism using corn as a model. Her research, always thorough in scope and beautifully illustrated, touched multiple aspects of starch metabolism. Most importantly, her trainees received professional tutelage of excellent quality. She is an extraordinary teacher. Students at the University of Florida love her courses on Environmental Physiology of Plants and Plant Biochemistry. There are few scientists of Karen’s caliber who have excelled in outreach and service to the plant science community!

Hardy Rolletschek – Working with Karen is one of the best things that has happened to me in my scientific career. She makes science a fantastic and exciting experience. It is a privilege to be able to work with her. She truly deserves to be recognized as an ASPB Pioneer.

Maria Angelica Sanclemente – Karen was my PhD supervisor for six years. During that time she became my role model not only as a scientist but also in the way a lab should be run and how to treat others. Karen is an example of what an inclusive leader should be. She takes time to know everybody who joins the lab, from undergraduate interns to technicians, students, and postdocs. She treats everyone equally well, regardless of career level, and makes sure concerns, ideas, and knowledge is shared and communicated within the group. Karen’s guidance has made me a better researcher, not only by sharing her knowledge of plants, but also by emphasizing critical thinking, dedication and collaboration with peers. She always inspired me to make mentoring an important component of my education and guide and support others the way she has done with me. She really cares for the development of everyone who joins her group. She was always a supporting advisor who encouraged me to actively participate in scientific meetings nationally and internationally. Even though we no longer work together, we still stay in touch and she stills advise me when I need her help. I not only considered her my supervisor, but I also consider her a mentor for life and a true pioneer as a woman in science and her field of research.

Jonathan Saunders – Karen is an inspiration to those around her! She is humble yet very intelligent, and her enthusiasm for science and for others shine through in all she does. It has been an honor to get to work with her over the years. Her impact on science and the community have warmed my heart. She is a great scientist and a great human.

Pamela S. Soltis & Douglas E. Soltis – Karen is an outstanding colleague! Beyond her excellent and groundbreaking research, she is always ready with an interesting question, a willingness to help, and a smile!

Masaharu Suzuki – Karen is: 1) a pioneer of sugar signaling in plants. Two review articles with over one thousand citations. 2) an excellent mentor for post-docs, graduate students, and undergrads. And many of them stay active in plant science. 3) a dedicated servant for research communities, including ASPB, Maize Genetics, NSF, and the USDA.

Bao-Cai Tan – It is great to have you as a mentor, a colleague, and a friend during the last 30+ years. It is exciting to explore what sucrose can do in plants. Sweet memories just like the taste of sucrose!