November 4, 2005

Salk Institute plant biologist named AAAS Fellow

Salk News

Salk Institute plant biologist named AAAS Fellow

La Jolla, CA – Salk Institute molecular biologist Joanne Chory, Ph.D., an expert on how plants regulate their growth, has been elected a Fellow of the world’s largest general scientific society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Election to AAAS Fellow recognizes researchers for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

Chory and the 375 other new AAAS Fellows will be honored at the organization’s annual meeting next Feb., in St. Louis, Mo.

Chory, a professor in the institute’s Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, investigates how plants make ‘decisions’ about their growth and development, such as when to germinate and flower.

Their ‘decisions’ are based on the molecular signals that plant cells use to communicate with each other in response to changes in the sunlight that they receive, not only when seasons change but also when the plant exists in shady and overcrowded conditions.

Chory’s findings may lead to development of ways to modify a plant’s response to sunlight and thereby could increase the yields of agricultural crops, a critical issue considering that 90 million children worldwide suffer from hunger and malnutrition.

In addition to conducting research on the signaling pathways of plant cells, Chory participates in The 2010 Project, a multinational effort that began in 2000 to determine the function of all the genes and proteins in the plant, Arabidopsis, a weed that has the smallest genetic code of any flowering plant. The project aims to define what makes a plant a plant.

An elected member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of numerous other honors, Chory received her undergraduate biology degree at Oberlin College and her Ph.D. in microbiology at the University of Illinois.

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California, is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to fundamental discoveries in the life sciences, the improvement of human health and the training of future generations of researchers. Jonas Salk, M.D., whose polio vaccine all but eradicated the crippling disease poliomyelitis in 1955, opened the Institute in 1965 with a gift of land from the City of San Diego and the financial support of the March of Dimes.

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