Testimonials for Pioneer Member Richard Dixon
Robin Cameron – Rick was my supervisor when I was a post-doctoral fellow at the Noble Foundation in Ardmore Oklahoma (1994-1995). He gave me lots of freedom, but was always available to talk about my research in a positive and encouraging way. As a new Assistant Professor, he provided invaluable guidance for how to cut words out of our manuscript to meet the word limit, without sacrificing clarity. I still think of him when I edit manuscripts for my research team. Thanks Rick!
Michael A. Cawley – Rick Dixon was the head of the Plant Biology Division at The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation during my tenure as CEO / 1992 – 2012. Rick was an outstanding leader and an incredible scientist. His accomplishments speak for themselves.
Dianjing Guo – I am happy to support Rick Dixon as a Pioneer of the ASPB in recognition for his contributions to the plant biology community — for his dedicated service to ASPB, his research contributions in plant biology, and his mentoring of young scientists.
Maria Harrison – Rick launched the careers of many plant scientists, including mine. Life as a postdoc in his lab was exciting, and he provided tremendous support and many opportunities for scientific development. Rick’s enthusiasm for science was infectious, and it was always exciting to discuss the latest results with him – and when the experiments didn’t work, he would commiserate and offer encouragement. Towards the end of my postdoc, Rick was expanding the Plant Biology Division at the Noble Foundation, and he offered me a group leader position. I will always remember telling him that I would like to work on the molecular basis of arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis. With good reason,he looked slightly skeptical, but his response was perfect for me, ‘alright, you have three years to show that you can actually do this’. Thanks Rick for your support and the opportunity to pursue my science dreams.
Ken Korth – Rick played a profound role in my life and career, as a teacher, mentor, role-model, boss, and friend. He provided me with invaluable support and opportunities to chart my own path. Rarely a week goes by that I don’t think about the positive ways that his leadership impacted my career in positive ways, and I try to draw on his example as I attempt to guide students and newer faculty. He has helped countless young scientists at all levels of their career, all the while conducting world-class research and making impactful contributions to our understanding of plant biology.
Parvathi Kota – I am honored to support the nomination of Richard A Dixon as a Pioneer of the ASPB in recognition for his contributions to the plant biology community. I consider myself very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with him as a postdoc at the S.R. Noble Foundation. He is a fantastic mentor and an amazing person. He is engaged in day-to-day research in the lab and invests time in his students and postdocs.
Chang-Jun Liu – If I had to name someone who influenced my academic career the most, I would definitely say it was Rick. I was so lucky that more than 20 years ago I had the opportunity of working and getting trained in Rick’s lab at the Noble foundation which had been under his supervision and guidance for years. I was attracted by Rick’s profound knowledge, quick thinking, and brilliant insight in the field; meanwhile, his easy, approachable personality, his trust and encouragement to someone like me, who was fresh off the boat, greatly boosted my confidence, interests and enthusiasm for my career development. I deeply appreciated the precious experience guided by Rick. Thank you!
Kiran Mysore – Thank you for your guidance and support in my scientific career. I learned a lot from you about science and life in general.
Michael Udvardi – As the first and longest-serving director of the Plant Biology Division of the Noble Foundation, Rick was instrumental in building a world-class plant biology research program that spanned biochemistry and molecular biology, genetics, and genomics, cell biology, physiology, plant-microbe interactions, and bioinformatics. His group made seminal contributions to the understanding of plant specialized metabolism, especially of lignin and tannin biosynthesis, fundamental discoveries that found practical application in the forage and biofuel industries. Under Rick’s leadership, many early-career scientists bloomed and became world-leading scientists in their own right. The postdoctoral training program developed under Rick’s leadership saw the Noble Foundation amongst the top 10 places for postdoctoral training in the USA for several years running. Rick mentored many younger colleagues to success, including myself. In summary, Rick has had an enormous impact on our understanding of metabolism in plants, its practical use in agriculture, and in the training and mentoring of countless early-career scientists in the USA.
Yiji Xia – Rick was my mentor when I was a postdoc at The Noble Foundation. I am very grateful for his mentorship, which greatly helped me develop my research career. Rick not only is a world leader in plant secondary metabolism and defense, but also established the Plant Biology Division of The Noble Foundation as a global leader in plant science research, where many postdocs received excellent training to become new generations of plant biologists.
Deyu Xie – Professor Richard Dixon is an extraordinary supervisor. I was lucky to be one of his postdocs at Noble Foundation from May 2002-June 2005. I am grateful to Dr. Dixon for his mentoring, supervision, patience, and trust, all of which positively changed my academic life. Although I was confident in myself when I joined his lab, I was nervous because I was an underdog when it came to good publications. Making matters worse, my English communication and writing were very poor. I thank Dr. Dixon for his trust in giving me projects and discussing scientific questions regarding pro-anthocyanidin biosynthesis, which needed to be solved. Then, he just simply let me go for it with a lot of think-and-do freedom. Certainly, I needed to chase him for a monthly meeting or a half-year meeting to discuss my experimental progress. Although he was always extremely busy, no matter when I emailed my experimental data to him he always responded in less than 10 minutes. I remembered when I emailed him a new result at 3:00 AM one day during the 2002 winter. He emailed back in five seconds and gave me his advice. I was very grateful for his patience editing my writing. After his editing, my writing turned red from his edits, which helped me not only learn how to write correct phrases and sentences but also understand his writing. His patient editing helped build my confidences to apply for an assistant professor job three years later. After I had my own lab, I asked whether he was “mad” at my terrible English writing, but he said “not really”. I certainly understood that he tried to save my face. Although these and other types of interactions between Dr. Dixon and me seem “very common”, every single one has benefited my teaching, mentoring, and the supervision for my students. Rick, thank you so much for everything!