Testimonials for Pioneer Member Daniel Cosgrove

Rob Carey – Dan is an amazing scientist who has advanced the field of plant biology in many ways through his studies of cell wall dynamics. I was fortunate to be a student in Dan’s lab in the early 2000s. It is not an exaggeration to say that he is the person who taught me about how science is done. His creativity and openness to unique ideas made him an outstanding mentor. He gave his students the freedom to explore, make mistakes, and learn. Since I graduated, he has been a valued colleague, collaborator, and supporter. He is very deserving of being recognized as an ASPB pioneer.

Daniel Durachko – Prior to my retirement, I enjoyed over 35 years working directly with Dr. Cosgrove. He is a tireless and innovative crusader for advancement in his field. I can’t imagine having had a much more supportive, creative and enriching career than the one I enjoyed with him.

Nikolaos Georgelis – Dan gave me the opportunity to participate in high-impact research in his lab and he was an excellent mentor. Dan is an unconventional and interdisciplinary scientist who helped me look at things critically and from multiple angles. He taught me to look at scientific results objectively and recognize all the possibilities that could explain them. Our collaboration was very productive, and I’ll never forget my excitement when we got a crystal structure of an expansin complexed with an oligosaccharide, mimicking binding to plant cell walls. It’s rewarding moments like these that make up for all the experimental failures and make you glad you are a scientist. I am grateful to Dan for greatly improving me as a scientist and providing me with guidance and tools that have helped me advance in my career.

Candace Haigler – Dr. Cosgrove made a great contribution to the fields of cellulose and cell wall research through leading the multi-institutional, trans-disciplinary, Center for LignoCellulose Structure and Formation (CLSF) for many years. His contributions include ‘herding cats’ (the many co-PIs in the Center) and the pioneering cell wall research accomplished in his own group. He astutely recognized outstanding scientists who were brought into the Center over the years and consistently promoted interactions and research synergies among Center members at all stages of career. He also worked alongside others, often the junior scientists, while making personal creative contributions that led to CLSF winning various artistic contests among the larger group of Energy Frontier Research Centers. These successes resulted in a Lifetime Achievement award for our group as winners of these science communication competitions. He is indeed a Renaissance man!

Bruce Link – Dan modeled what it is to be a great scientist. He insisted that we “never marry your hypothesis” and to “ALWAYS follow the data to where it leads.” He always conducted his science ethically and believed that if everyone did that, they could write papers and books with direct competitors and scientists whose views might be directly opposed to their’s; he co-authored many papers with scientists who had views different from his own. Dan’s natural curiosity, analytical mind, deep knowledge of the literature, and willingness to admit when he didn’t know something were all contributing factors to making him an inspirational teacher and a great scientist. It was phenomenal, maybe even intimidating, to see how quickly Dan could learn a whole new area of science; in a way this made you want to try harder. He always had great people working in his lab, and his ability to attract and keep them say a lot about who he is as a person.

Laura Ullrich – Daniel Cosgrove has been at the helm of the highly successful mix of synergistic researchers in the Center for Lignocellulose Structure and Formation for over 13 years. Working by his side for many of those years, I continue to be amazed at his ability not only to comprehend the significance of a vast swath of science and engineering, and to be eloquent and clear in his writing, but also to create and nurture an environment that fosters collaboration and working as a community toward a shared goal. I am privileged to observe firsthand how he spreads an infectious interest in a subject, and how he works with people to balance self- and group- advancements.

Tuo Wang – Dr. Cosgrove is always there and providing the strongest possible support to my career. My training was in ghemistry. Dr. Cosgrove walked me through many important concepts in plant biology and cell wall structural biology. He also showed me how to give a talk using the language of different scientific disciplines to promote collaborative efforts, and how to think about the origin of discrepancies in results obtained with different techniques and research approaches. This was very important to my independent career, as I became open-minded to collaborations. This important perspective is often missing among junior scientists at the early stages of their careers. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to interact and learn from him.

Tian Zhang – As a scientist, Dan holds himself and his students to high standards. I have always been grateful to have him as my PhD adviser, and for his continued advice and support throughout my career. It was also a priceless experience sharing his passion for cell walls, expansins, as well as science and nature in general.