Testimonials for Pioneer Member L. Curtis Hannah

Kevin Folta – Dr. Hannah’s contributions to the understanding of a critical enzyme’s role in starch biosynthesis have profound basic and applied scientific importance. His scientific achievements will be forever reflected in the literature, as well as in the genetics that carry forward to improving seeds for farmers and ultimately feeding a hungry planet. It is also important to note his kind service to the broader scientific community, his mentorship of students that have grown into leaders of academia and industry, and his important role in assistance of departmental functions at the University of Florida. Now serving after his fifth official retirement, his dedication to his craft and to others is a model for all to follow.

Nikolaos Georgelis – Throughout his career, Curt has been a passionate advocate and promoter of plant biotechnology and its potential benefits to society. He has made tremendous contributions towards understanding and enhancing plant yields in the areas of maize genetics and biochemistry. As my PhD advisor, Curt was an inspiring and supportive mentor. The scientific knowledge and experience that I obtained from him shaped me as a scientist and defined my career path. I will always be grateful to Curt for his positive impact in my life.

Shailesh Lal – Dr. L. Curtis Hannah was my post-doctoral mentor, and over the years he had a tremendous impact in shaping my academic and professional career. He taught me the art of critical thinking and scientific communication. He showed me how to confer a positive impact on science and the community and expedite bridging the gap between basic research and it’s translational impact on society. He was one of the most approachable and down to earth mentors I have had during the 30+ years of my career. He taught me how to treat everyone, ranging from undergraduates to senior level members of his group, with equal dignity and respect. Over the years, I learned and meticulously implemented his mentorship skills with my own students with great success. I owe the success of my scientific career to Dr. Hannah and feel honored and privileged to have had him as a mentor during a very critical phase of my professional development.

Anna-Lisa Paul – Curt has been a great mentor and friend for decades. There will be many testimonials on the depth and breadth of Curt’s contribution to the field of biochemical and molecular genetics, but I think that the foundation of these contributions is Curt’s talent to see into a question with unique insight. Anyone who knows Curt will recognize the phrase: “that’s great, but have you ever thought about…”. This approach has inspired generations of scientists; I was on the receiving end as a graduate student in the 1980’s, and I have to smile when, twenty-plus years later at one of my students’ seminars, Curt asks “well that’s interesting, but have you ever considered…”. Yes, Curt is a pioneer, and he continues to inspire us.

William Thompson – My friendship with Curt Hannah goes back more years than probably he or I care to admit. It seems like he’s always been a force of nature in maize biochemical genetics, as his many students and colleagues can testify. He’s been, and continues to be, a great friend and mentor to so many – an example to be emulated!

William Tracy – Curt played a major role in the development of my career in number of important ways. His discoveries in the biochemical and molecular genetics of starch synthesis in maize endosperm informed and inspired the work I do. But even more important is his attitude and approach to science. His deep curiosity and intense critical thinking are inspirational. If you know that Curt will be in your audience, you better be prepared for hard but thoughtful questions, regardless of the subject. While Curt’s science generates new knowledge, his keen interest and understanding of the practical implications of his work, as evidenced by his numerous patents, reflect his curiosity and interest in applied applications. Finally, Curt clearly loves maize genetics and that joy is infectious.