Maria Harrison will receive the 2015 Dennis R. Hoagland Award for her research into the symbiotic relationship between plant roots and fungi, which provides plants with valuable mineral nutrients.
Harrison, the William H. Crocker Professor at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, located on the Cornell campus, and an adjunct professor in plant pathology and plant-microbe biology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, received the award from the American Society of Plant Biologists. The ASPB gives the prize every three years to scientists who have made outstanding contributions to plant research in support of agriculture. It established the award in 1985 to honor Dennis R. Hoagland, professor of plant nutrition at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1913-49, and a leading authority in plant and soil interactions.
Harrison’s research focuses on the relationship between plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, which penetrate plant roots and provide phosphate and nitrogen in exchange for carbon. Harrison explores this interaction, in part, by identifying the transporters that move mineral nutrients and carbon across cell membranes.
In his nomination letter, BTI President and CEO 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 award at the July Plant Biology 2015 Meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Patricia Waldron is the staff science writer for the Boyce Thompson Institute.