Two on faculty elected to National Academy of Sciences

James Giovannoni

Patrick Stover


Two Cornell researchers were elected new members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) May 3.

James Giovannoni, adjunct professor of plant biology in the School of Integrative Plant Science, research scientist at U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS), and professor at the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI), and Patrick Stover, professor and director of the Division of Nutritional Sciences, were two of 84 new members and 21 foreign associates from 14 countries elected to the NAS “in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research,” according to the academy.

Giovannoni’s lab focuses on the molecular and genetic analysis of fruit ripening and related signaling systems, with emphasis on the relationship of fruit ripening to nutritional quality. His lab also develops genomics tools to study the Solanaceae (nightshade) family of plants, with the majority of work on the tomato. His lab seeks to understand the molecular basis for regulating ripening, how these processes are conserved through evolution, and how regulatory networks coordinate ripening events including those related to quality and nutritional content.

Giovannoni, who came to Cornell in 2000, previously served as a faculty member in horticultural sciences at Texas A&M University. He received his Ph.D. in molecular and physiological plant biology in 1990 from the University of California, Berkeley.

He is co-inventor of four patents and was ranked among the top 1 percent of most-cited researchers for their subject field between 2002 and 2012, according to Thomson Reuters. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and received an USDA Agricultural Research Service Award in 2011.

Stover’s research group studies the fundamental chemical, biochemical, genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that underlie relationships among nutrition, metabolism and risk for birth defects, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. His lab emphasizes research on B vitamins folate and B-12, their influence of nuclear and mitochondrial metabolism, their effects on such processes as cellular methylation, gene expression and genome stability, and their role in preventing human pathologies.

Stover received his Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biophysics in 1990 from the Medical College of Virginia. He joined the Cornell faculty in 1994.

In 2014, Stover was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.

He also received the Osborne and Mendel Award for outstanding recent basic research accomplishments in nutrition from the American Society for Nutrition and a MERIT award from National Institutes of Health. He received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers, in 1997. Stover has been selected as an outstanding educator four times by Cornell Merrill Presidential Scholars and is editor of the Annual Reviews of Nutrition.

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