Awards and Recognition

Dr. Martin Dickman

Dr. Martin Dickman has been awarded the Noel T. Keen Award for Research Excellence in Molecular Plant Pathology. This award recognizes APS members for research excellence in molecular plant pathology. Nominees will have made outstanding contributions and demonstrated sustained excellence and leadership in research that significantly advances the understanding of molecular aspects of host–pathogen interactions, plant pathogens or plant-associated microbes, or molecular biology of disease development or defense mechanisms. Read more

Researchers discover contenders in molecular arms race of major plant disease

Dr. Xiuren Zhang

Researchers have discovered how a tiny viral protein enables the infection of a complex plant, and the finding could lead to understanding viral diseases in other plants, animals and humans, according to a team of Texas A&M AgriLife Research biochemists.

Dr. Xiuren Zhang’s lab in College Station focused on how plants can defend themselves against viral attacks by experimenting with the effect of mosaic virus on arabidopsis, a model plant widely used in research. Read more

Innovation of researchers yields better food, feed, fiber for consumers

Dr. Joshua Yuan

When the names of two researchers were called as top innovators at the recent Texas A&M Technology Commercialization banquet in College Station, officials at Texas A&M AgriLife beamed.

“It was gratifying to see that our efforts to attract and support the best scientists was noticed and honored,” said Dr. Craig Nessler, director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research, the agency that yielded both winners — Dr. Gregory Sword and Dr. Joshua Yuan. “And we’re also proud that so many of the others honored hail from AgriLife Research and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.” Read more


Dr. Patricia Klein

World Coffee Research is pleased to announce the appointment of Patricia Klein, Ph.D., to the position of molecular biologist in coffee genetic diversity and genomic selection. Dr. Klein is an Associate Professor and the Associate Head for Graduate Programs in the Department of Horticultural Sciences at Texas A&M University.

“We are extremely proud to welcome Dr. Trish Klein to our coffee breeding team as molecular geneticist,” says World Coffee Research executive director Tim Schilling. “With her skill set and experience, WCR is uniquely positioned to make greater and more rapid progress at developing the next-generation of high-quality, rust-resistant coffee varieties for producers.” Read more

Castillo-González receives Vice Chancellor’s Award for graduate research

Claudia Marcela Castillo-González of College Station has received a Texas A&M AgriLife Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in the graduate student research category.

The honor was presented Jan. 14 during the 2016 Vice Chancellor’s Awards in Excellence Ceremony in College Station.

Castillo-González is a graduate assistant in research for the biochemistry and biophysics department at Texas A&M University. Read more

How grade school science projects led to a career

Kevin Cox wanted to be a medical doctor from the time he was about five years old. He had a passion for helping people, and he especially wanted to help other kids.

So he got serious about science in grade school — so serious that he made really good grades on his science projects.

“I figured I could help children best by becoming a pediatrician so that was my career goal since second or third grade,” he recalled.

In college, Cox majored in biology, thinking it would land him a spot in medical school. The introductory biology class provided his first introduction to plants. He wasn’t from a farm and had never really thought about plants. Read more

Libo Shan recognized by U.S. plant biologists society with Charles Albert Shull Award

 Dr. Libo Shan of College Station, Texas A&M AgriLife Research molecular biologist, has earned the Charles Albert Shull Award from the American Society of Plant Biologists.

“I feel extremely honored to be selected as the recipient of this prestigious award,” Shan said.

The society said Shan was chosen for her “impressive contributions to the field of plant–microbe interactions and plant immune signaling. Libo’s research discoveries have deepened our understanding of the function of plant immune receptors and the downstream pathways they trigger,” according to the award citation. Read more


Energy department grants $2.5M for biorefinery waste use, renewable bioproduct study

The U.S. Department of Energy has granted $2.5 million for a Texas A&M AgriLife Research study to find ways to use biorefinery waste to make new, marketable products.

“In the biorefinery field, we have a saying: You can make anything but money out of lignin. And yet, that is the majority of waste or what’s left over in the biorefinery plants,” said Dr. Joshua Yuan, a biotechnologist and lead scientist on the AgriLife Research project. “Until we resolve this problem, biorefinery is not going to become economically viable.” Read more

Keerti Rathore Receives Cotton Genetics Research Award

Dr. Keerti Rathore,  a Texas AgriLife Research scientist, is the recipient of the 2011 Cotton Genetics Research Award.

Dr. Keerti Rathore

The announcement was made during the 2012 Beltwide Cotton Conference of the National Cotton Council recently in Orlando, Fla.

Rathore, who is also an associate professor in the department of soil and crops sciences at Texas A&M University,  received a plaque and a monetary award.

He was cited for his work on the reduction of gossypol in cottonseed. Gossypol makes the otherwise protein-rich seed unfit for human and monogastric animal consumption. Read more

Sorghum Bioenergy Breeding and Genomics-Interdisciplinary Research Team

The ability to address complex research questions across disciplines is exemplified by the Sorghum Bioenergy Breeding and Genomics Team.  From three departments, Dr. William Rooney, Dr. Patricia Klein, and Dr. John Mullet’s work has ensured that sorghum is one of the first US commercialized bioenergy crops and a primary genomic model.   Termed as the “dream team” of research, their long history of interdisciplinary collaboration has resulted in enormous impacts, both scientific and practical. An industry leader noted that their approach is “necessary in today’s world for rapid and significant progress in crop improvement.”    As a nominator noted, the team is a powerful assembly of researchers with vision, tenacity and responsibility.

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