Testimonials for Pioneer Member Natasha Raikhel

Asaph Aharoni – Natasha had and still has a great impact on the scientific careers of numerous scientists, especially young investigators. Her contribution to the community was not only her excellent science, but also through guiding many scientists on how to communicate and present science, ethical issues, social interaction and leadership. Moreover, her guidance and assistance to many individuals was often associated with personal issues beyond science.

Andrea Chini – I spent only a few months as visiting researcher in Natasha’s lab, but it was a great experience. Natasha and her collegues welcomed me with great generosity, and she spent a lot of time and energy on my proyect, even thought she knew it was only for a short period of time. Her vision and questions were always thought-provoking. Natasha’s lab and its dynamics were special: very cosmopolitan, team-orientated and motivating. It struck me how much Natasha cared and tried hard to create an opportunity for every young, motivated researcher.
I very much treasure the memories of my UCR pariod in Natasha’s lab.

Gloria Coruzzi – Dear Natasha – I am thrilled to honor you as a Pioneer in the field of Plant Molecular Biology! Your excellence in research, your leadership and your vision are unparalleled. You led and defined a new field – Chemical Genomics, and discovered new components in the secretory system in Plant Cell Biology. In addition, you built and led two amazing Centers at UCR – one in Cell Biology and one in Genomics – where you recruited and retained an amazing group of faculty. On top of that, as Editor-in-Chief of Plant Physiology you transformed it to be a leading plant journal, and made seminal advances as interim Editor-in-Chief of PNAS. You have been a mentor and promoted the careers of many, many young scientists – including ones who were not your mentees – and that is a very selfless and rare act of vision and kindness. Your drive, determination and wisdom have changed the face of Plant Biology within and beyond our field. You did all this in the face of many personal challenges, beginning with your emigration to the US. I am so very honored and proud to be your colleague and friend.

With much respect and fondness – Gloria Coruzzi (New York University)

Susannah Gal –  My time in Natasha Raikhel’s lab at Michigan State University’s DOE- Plant Research Lab was pivotal to my launching my career as an independent scientist and faculty member. The projects I worked on there and the others in the group made it possible for me to develop my own research trajectory and obtain an NSF CAREER award soon after starting in my faculty position.

Glenn Hicks – Natasha has had a major impact on the Plant Biology Community not only through her pioneering research, but also a leader to the community, especially in the field of cell biology. She has been a close professional colleague and mentor to me personally, for which I am grateful. And I am not unique. Natasha has been incredibly supportive of early career scientists, many of whom are now established researchers mentoring their own students and postdocs. Her legacy and mentorship can continue as an Pioneer Member of ASPB.

Ruixi Li – Natasha had great impact on me when I was the postdoc in her lab. She always told me to be positive and focus on one project at a time. Her strong mind and optimism inspired me during my 5 years’ work in her lab and continued to have a significant impact on me when I become the independent PI in China. I still continue to consult with her when I encounter great challenges in my life, and she always encouranges me in many ways. As a women, we always have to face many challenges as a working mother, from family and from society. I think Natasha serves as an excellent example to be a great scientist and an outstanding leader, as well as a good mother. I am very grateful for the experience with her and will continue to follow her steps to work in the plant cell biology field.

Ken Matsuoka – Dr. Natasha Raikhel is a pioneer in the analysis of plant secretory pathways at the molecular level, and especially about protein targeting to the vacuole and the synthesis of cell walls. She was an excellent competitor and collaborator with me about the former topic, and based on this competition and collaboration as well as the work of other scientists, we could establish a very active research field about the former topic in the 1990’s. Because of this highly active research topic, scientific papers that I published are highly cited. The nature of this research work allowed me to get a PI position at RIKEN in Japan.

Cecilia Roderiguez-Furlan – Natasha gave me the incredible opportunity of working at her laboratory. I learned more working for her than in my entire career to that point, and I was always surprised by her insightful and brilliant suggestions and comments. She truly has a unique vision of science, and that is why each conversation with her is stamped in my brain with knowledge that has proved over the years to be incredibly useful for science and life in general. She has constantly support me, and I consider myself lucky and honored of such attention. She is truly a great scientist and an amazing woman.

Narasimha Chary Samboju – Dr. Natasha Raikhel has fostered many successful researchers, and I feel incredibly lucky to work with her. It is a unique opportunity to work with such a distinguished Professor and mentor. One of Natasha’s best qualities as a mentor is that she always makes decisions that are in the best interest of her students, postdocs, and scientists. She always makes time to meet and gives opportunities to make ourselves a place in the scientific community. She constantly supported me in all aspects of research and career development. I am very thankful to have worked with Dr. Natasha Raikhel from both a scientific and personal perspective. She is an outstanding mentor and advisor.

Marguerite (Rita) J. Varagona –  Natasha was my post-doc advisor when she was at the PRL at Michigan State U. I learned so much from her by how she ran the lab and how she interfaced with the scientific community. She made sure that each of us in her lab had the opportunity to get to know leading scientists that came through the PRL. She also brought in people from all over the world so that we were working with incredible folks as we worked towards building our understanding of protein movement in plant cells. I have so many good friends from my days at the PRL. She really created a strong, and enjoyable work environment for us. I so appreciated how she supported our development as whole scientist and global citizens.

Since moving on to the next phases in my career, she has continued to be a role model and mentor to me and to so many others of us. I appreciate our friendship and am very happy to acknowledge her as a Pioneer of ASPB.

Olga Zabotina – She was the most aspirational mentor in my life. She gave me the great opportunity to start my career in USA. She is a wonderful woman, great scientist, caring mentor and exemplary person.