Maria Harrison Wins ASPB’s Dennis R. Hoagland Award

by | Apr 7, 2015

Professor Maria Harrison

Professor Maria Harrison

Professor Maria Harrison is the 2015 winner of the Dennis R. Hoagland Award, for her work on plant mineral nutrition.

The American Society of Plant Biologists gives out the award every three years to scientists who have made outstanding contributions to plant research in support of agriculture. The Society established this award in 1985 to honor Dennis R. Hoagland, professor of plant nutrition at the University of California at Berkeley from 1913-49, and a leading authority in plant and soil interactions.

Harrison’s research focuses on the interaction between plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, which penetrate plant roots and provide nutrients such as phosphate and nitrogen in exchange for sugars made by the plant. Harrison explores this symbiotic relationship, in part, by identifying the transporters that move the nutrients and sugars across the cell membranes.

“I felt honored when I heard that David Stern had nominated me, but it was really amazing to be selected,” said Harrison.

“The Hoagland Award recognizes Maria Harrison’s exemplary research achievements and leadership in plant biology,” said Vice President for Research Eric Richards. “Her investigations have opened new directions in the biology of fungal-plant interactions, and point toward potentially novel approaches for manipulating phosphate transport in crop species.”

Professor Maria Harrison

Professor Maria Harrison in BTI greenhouse

In his nomination letter, President David Stern cited Harrison’s development of new tools to investigate the signaling cues that create this cross-species interaction. He also pointed to numerous scholarly publications that have cemented her status as a leader in the field.

“BTI has been fortunate to count Maria Harrison as a member of its faculty, not only for her unique and highly visible research program, but also for her collegiality,” wrote Stern. “She is highly sought for advice and leadership, is highly collaborative, and her mentoring capacity is demonstrated by the successful careers of her former trainees.”

Harrison will receive the Hoagland Award at the July Plant Biology 2015 Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is organizing one of the major symposia at the conference, “Interactions in the Rhizosphere and the Root Microbiome.” She will be presenting a talk entitled “Regulation of arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis.”

 For more information, see the announcement on the ASPB website.

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