PULLMAN, Wash.—Four WSU faculty members—Aurora Clark, Thomas Okita, John Reganold and Linda Thomashow—were recently elected as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), a high honor recognizing their contributions to science and technology.
This year a total of 443 scholars from a range of disciplines were chosen by their peers on the Council of AAAS to become new Fellows. They will receive official certificates and rosette pins in a ceremony on Feb. 15, 2020, during the AAAS Annual Meeting in Seattle.
Aurora E. Clark
Aurora Clark is a professor of chemistry, director of the Center for Institutional Research Computing and deputy director of the IDREAM Energy Frontier Research Center. Her research includes modeling of complex, multicomponent solutions, providing the basic science needed to help solve many industrial problems. Her work has helped in development of remediation strategies for the nuclear waste site in Hanford, Washington. To understand such complex problems, Clark has developed methods that integrate applied mathematics and chemistry to extract new information from modeling data – this includes the study of networks of interactions between molecules using similar approaches to internet search engines.
Thomas W. Okita
Thomas W. Okita, WSU regents professor of molecular plant sciences, is internationally recognized for his seminal contributions to the study of starch regulation and RNA localization in plants. He is continuing research in these areas through two major programs in his lab: one centering on how RNAs are targeted to specific subdomains of the cortical endoplasmic reticulum, the main site of protein synthesis in plant cells; and another focusing on how an enzyme involved in starch metabolism modulates photosynthesis.
John P. Reganold
John P. Reganold, WSU regents professor of soil science and agroecology, is a world renowned soil scientist. He founded the first organic and sustainable agriculture major in the United States and the nation’s largest certified organic teaching farm here at WSU. His scholarly work includes analyzing the soil health and the environmental, economic and social sustainability of farming systems as well as evaluating and developing metrics for global food production systems and prime agricultural lands.
Linda S. Thomashow
Linda S. Thomashow is a research geneticist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and a WSU adjunct professor in plant pathology and molecular plant sciences. Her research includes work on plant-microbe interactions in the rhizosphere, the area of soil surrounding plants roots; the role of antibiotics produced by root-associated bacteria; root colonization; and microbial genomics. Recent studies have focused on the production of phenazine antibiotics in semi-arid soils of the Pacific Northwest, their ecosystem-wide distribution, and their influence on biofilm formation and nutrient turnover on wheat roots.