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2021 ARS Award Winners

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New AAAS Fellows

ARS scientists Clarice Coyne and Carl Bernacchi were elected as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in November 2020. Coyne, a geneticist with the Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research Unit in Pullman, WA, was elected for her international leadership in legume germplasm conservation, and contributions to the public understanding, global food security, and improved nutritional value of legumes. Bernacchi, a plant physiologist with the Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit in Urbana, IL, was elected for his outstanding contributions towards understanding photosynthesis from molecular to global scales.

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ARS Team Wins Borlaug Award

A well-coordinated team of ARS plant pathologists, geneticists, and agronomists was awarded the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative Gene Stewardship Award in 2020. Their extensive and significant research contributions have greatly reduced the global vulnerability of key grain crops by introducing and improving resistance to stem rust—particularly Ug99—in wheat and other small grains. In the past 10 years, this scientific team has published more than 140 refereed journal articles on stem rust resistance sources and genetics of stem rust resistance in wheat and contributed to the release of numerous resistant varieties with world-wide impact. The team included Harold Bockelman, Mike Bonman, Robert Bowden, Tyler Gordon, Mary Guttieri, Yue Jin, David Marshall, Matthew Rouse, and Steven Xu.

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Vincent Elected to National Academy of Medicine

Amy L. Vincent, veterinary   medical   officer and lead scientist with ARS’s National Animal Disease Center in Ames, IA, was elected in October 2020 as a member of the National Academy of Medicine. Election to the Academy is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine. Vincent was chosen for her groundbreaking research that led to improved vaccines and surveillance for swine influenza, characterization of vaccine-associated enhanced disease in a swine influenza model, and characterization of pandemic potential for swine influenza viruses.

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Biswas Named Fulbright Scholar

Atanu Biswas, a chemist with ARS’s Plant Polymer Research Unit in Peoria, IL, was named a recipient of the 2020-22 Fulbright U.S. Scholar Fellowship Award. Administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, the Fulbright Award honors individuals at the top of their fields. As a Fulbright Scholar, Biswas plans to continue collaborating with the Brazilian Enterprise for Agricultural Research to work on biobased polymers made from soybean oil, corn, and other renewable resources. These kinds of polymers can replace synthetic products such as polyethylene bags and polystyrene foam packing materials, re- ducing reliance on petroleum, reducing pollution through improved biodegradability, and increasing demand for agricultural products.

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Reba Wins Rice Sustainability Award

Michele Reba, research hydrologist with ARS’s Delta Water Management Research Unit in Jonesboro, AR, was the 2020 recipient of the USA Rice Sustainability Award.

Reba was chosen for her leadership and innovative research around sustainable rice production.