Leading researcher, helpful teacher

He is recognized internationally as a leading authority on photosynthesis, and in 2001 – with colleagues Vince Franceschi and Elena Voznesenskaya – he discovered a unique form of photosynthesis. Now Gerald Edwards will be recognized by the university as a Regents professor.

“I’m pleased to represent the sciences and WSU at this level,” Edwards said. “I’m humbled, though, because so many people helped me along the way. Science is not an individual activity.” 

Despite the help, Edwards’ recognitions and awards at the national and international level do a good job of reflecting his accomplishments as a scientist and scholar. He has published more than 325 research articles, co-authored a textbook on photosynthesis, given 87 invited seminars at home and abroad, presented 44 invited addresses at national and international conferences, and earned five fellowships, including a Guggenheim and Fulbright. 

And he’s garnered more than $8 million in grants during his 36-year career. 

“He is one of the leading researchers within the university,” noted Gary Thorgaard, professor and director for the School of Biological Sciences. 

“There is a good group of plant biologists here at WSU and we’ve gotten better over the years,” said Edwards. ”A few weeks ago we found out that WSU is ranked number five in botany and plant biology. We took some pride in that.”

In addition to research, Edwards certainly does his part on the teaching front. He has mentored 31 graduate students and 27 postdoctoral research associates.

“When you get positive feedback from a student, that’s when you know this is all worth while,” he said. 

“He is a kind and helpful teacher of undergraduate and graduate students and mentor for younger faculty,” Thorgaard said. “We are truly fortunate to have him here.”
So how does Edwards feel about all the attention?

“I’m just really thankful for everyone’s support!” he said.

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