ASPB members selected for Presidential Early Career Scientist awards

November 10, 2010

ROCKVILLE, Md. -- Two members of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) are among the 85 researchers named by President Obama as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. Plant biologists Dominique C. Bergmann (Stanford University) and Magdalena Bezanilla (University of Massachusetts Amherst) are among those receiving the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Dominique C. Bergmann, PhD, is assistant professor of biology at Stanford University. Her laboratory has made notable contributions to elucidating the development of plant stomata as well as to our understanding of cell fate and patterning in plants and other multicellular organisms. Bergmann earned her PhD at the University of Colorado at Boulder and conducted postdoctoral research at the Carnegie Institution for Science's Department of Plant Biology. She was the 2010 recipient of ASPB's Charles Albert Shull Award, which is made annually for outstanding investigations in the field of plant biology by a scientist who is younger than 45 years of age or who is fewer than 10 years from the granting of the doctoral degree. In conjunction with her receipt of the 2010 Shull Award, Bergmann will be speaking as part of the awards symposium at ASPB's Plant Biology 2011 meeting, which will be held August 6, 2011, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Magdalena Bezanilla, PhD, is associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her laboratory pioneered a model system for studying plant tip growth, which is integral for processes such as fertilization and the absorption of water and minerals by plant roots, and has made significant contributions establishing molecular links between the actin cytoskeleton within plants and cell growth. Bezanilla earned her PhD from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and conducted postdoctoral research at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Washington University in St. Louis. She is the 2010 recipient of the American Society for Cell Biology Women in Cell Biology Junior Career Recognition Award, which honors exceptional scientific contributions to cell biology and demonstrated potential for continued scientific achievement and leadership.

The awards, established by President Clinton in 1996, are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) within the Executive Office of the President. Awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and their commitment to community service, as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education, or community outreach. Recognized scientists and engineers have received research grants for up to five years to further their studies in support of critical government missions.

The awards are conferred annually at the White House following recommendations from participating agencies. Bergmann was selected following her receipt of a research grant from the National Institutes of Health, and Bezanilla was selected on the basis of a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation.

As quoted in a release from OSTP, President Obama said, "science and technology have long been at the core of America's economic strength and global leadership. I am confident that these individuals, who have shown such tremendous promise so early in their careers, will go on to make breakthroughs and discoveries that will continue to move our nation forward in the years ahead."
ASPB is a professional scientific society, headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide. With a membership of nearly 5,000 plant scientists from throughout the United States and more than 50 other nations, the Society publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals: The Plant Cell and Plant Physiology. For more information about ASPB, please visit Also follow ASPB on Twitter @ASPB.

American Society of Plant Biologists

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