Testimonials for Pioneer Member Katherine Esau

Min-Yao Jhu – I am privileged to have been awarded the Katherine Esau Summer Graduate Fellowship in 2019 during my Ph.D. studies in the Department of Plant Biology at UC Davis. This fellowship honors Dr. Katherine Esau’s significant scientific contributions to plant anatomy and morphology. Designed for advanced graduate students whose dissertation research promises exceptional insights into plant structure across tissue, organ, and organism levels of development, evolution, and function, the fellowship underscores the profound impact of Dr. Esau’s legacy.

My dissertation research delves into the intricacies of structural alterations seen during host-parasitic plant interactions and explores the genetic foundations of these responses. Notably, Dr. Esau’s interest in parasitic plants and their connection with host vascular systems resonates with my research. She published a study on the effect of the parasite dwarf mistletoe (Arceuthobium) on the xylem anatomy of the host, conifers. My research employs a multifaceted approach, incorporating morphology, anatomy, molecular biology, and bioinformatics. By scrutinizing critical regulatory genes, I aim to unravel the complexities of host and parasitic plant interactions, specifically focusing on haustorium development. Receiving the Katherine Esau Fellowship supported my academic journey. This unique opportunity has allowed me to witness firsthand the enduring impact of Dr. Esau’s pioneering spirit on plant biology. I am deeply grateful for this connection to her legacy and the chance to contribute to the ongoing research in plant science.

Patrick Shih – I was fortunate to have had the amazing opportunity to be supported by the Katherine Esau Junior Faculty Fellow Award at UC Davis. Being inspired by Esau led to some of the most unique research that has come out of my lab, studying how wasps can induce formation of novel plant structures (i.e., galls). It’s been truly an honor to be associated with Katherine Esau and all the seminal discoveries she made, which truly advanced the entire field of plant biology.