Testimonials for Pioneer Member Simon Gilroy

Richard J Barker – To say that Prof Simon Gilroy is anything less than a legend does not do him justice. His magic isn’t his quick wit or humorous nature, but actually his mastery of how to use plant science to inspire all who are lucky enough to cross his path. I haven’t had a single encounter with this wizard where I haven’t laughed and been inspired to perform some wacky new seemingly impossible experiments to answer the questions raised by his insatiable curiosity. I’ve witnessed how he carefully listens when students have challenges in the lab and how he somehow always finds a solution; even if means rolling up his sleeves and getting dirty in the potting shed or mixing solutions in the wet lab. Hence the affectionate nickname, The Wizard! Simon Gilroy is an awesome scientist, inspirational mentor, and genuinely caring individual. His contribution to the field of plant calcium signaling is breathtaking, and I’ve seen how he can somehow take the incredible intricacies of this molecular biology and apply it to real-world applications that are out of this world. This is all possible due to the collaborative environment that he fosters in his laboratory, providing his team with trust, support, and a safe environment to identify their own scientific adventures. Simon truly is a pioneering plant scientist, he is deserving of this honor and I feel blessed to be able to call him my friend and mentor. Yours truly, Dr Richard Barker

Elison Blancaflor – My time in the Gilroy lab was one of the most rewarding experiences in my scientific career. Simon was a great mentor and continuous to be one for me, despite being away from his lab for more than 20 years. Simon made the lab an enjoyable place to work. Lab meetings to discuss research plans and progress at the bowling alley and the Happy Valley friendly farm were the highlights of my time with Simon. Of course, there were many more, including the Thursday night StarCraft battles, which continue to date. Between Simon and me, we have a win-loss record in StarCraft of 302-5987. The record does not matter. Most important is that during the heat of battle (and accumulating losses) many scientific ideas were born. Thank you for all you have done for us.

Sabrina Chin – I was introduced to Simon a few years ago by Elison Blancaflor in our weekly Starcraft game night. Little did I know, I would end up as a “scientific refugee” in his lab when Noble Research Institute closed down their research labs. It was a difficult transition, both mentally and physically but luckily Simon was all hands in the transition. One of my grants took almost a year to arrive but Simon had willingly covered my salary during the grant transfer. Working in his lab had and still is a great experience with amazing colleagues. Simon has a breadth of knowledge and can answer almost any scientific questions, especially anything microscopy related. Alas, he is still terrible at Starcraft despite having practiced for more than 20 years.

Won-Gyu Choi – Simon is not only a great scientist, but he is also a fantastic mentor for science and life. The impression I got when I first met him was that he was one of the people who could interact easily, regardless of his position. Simon treated everyone equally and was friendly to everyone irrespective of their position and age, rather than elevating himself, even though he was already a well-known scholar in the field. In his research, Simon did his best at every moment, was grateful for the results obtained, and had a positive attitude even if the results were not what he expected. Perhaps that’s why working with him was enjoyable. Besides, he was grateful for his life and genuinely treated the people who worked for him. That is why I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with him as a part of my life. I am also very appreciative that I could learn an attitude to appreciate life and science from him. He is the most outstanding scientist I know and my eternal mentor.

Jessica Fernandez – Simon’s contribution to science is undoubtedly extensive. I am extremely grateful for the care he gives to each of his mentees and peers. Simon has taught us all the importance of loving your work, yet having a work-life balance that fits.

Davey Jones – Simon was an inspiration when I was an eary career researcher. His passion for science was amazing. I remember with great fondness the days we spent in the confocal room at PSU. Those days were awesome and I wish I could turn back the clock or step back through that door. We spent lots of time imaging roots under aluminium stress and produced some super manuscripts (although I confess there is still an Al-callose one in my folders that never saw the light of the day – sorry Simon – one day). The pitchers of beer and buffalo wings that followed a long day in the lab topped it all off. I am sure I would not be where I am now without Simon :).

Liwen Jiang – Congratulations Simon for your achievements and contributions!

Gioia Massa – I knew from the moment I toured his lab, and discussed juggling chickens, that I wanted to work with Simon Gilroy for my Ph.D. His enthusiasm for science, coupled with his exceptional skill and insight, made him the best possible Ph.D. advisor for me. I learned so much from him throughout my graduate studies, from course work in cell signaling to hands-on lab practices, to ways to engage, mentor, and communicate and much more. Simon set the tone for an inclusive, welcoming, enjoyable lab environment, and he encouraged me in my passions and endeavors so I could reach my potential and explore my interests. I have observed his mentorship and guidance with many others since then, and he continues to lift up those who work with him. The innovation and excellence of the work coming from Simon’s team is due in large part to Simon’s personality and creativity. I am fortunate to be a product of his lab, part of his extended lab family, and to continue to work with Simon in different capacities now. He has shaped me as both a scientist and mentor, and I am grateful for it!