Four faculty named Regents professors

PULLMAN, Wash.– Four WSU faculty members have been promoted to the standing of Regents professor. This promotion honors the highest level of international distinction in the discipline that raises university standards through teaching, scholarship and public service.

Michael D. Griswold, Norman G. Lewis, B.W. Poovaiah and Gregory W. Yasinitsky will be honored March 28 during the Celebrating Excellence recognition banquet, part of WSU’s “World Class. Face to Face. Showcase” festivities to honor the achievements of faculty and staff across the university.

Griswold, dean of the College of Sciences and professor in the School of Molecular Biosciences, is recognized as one of the leading authorities in the study of male reproductive biology.

He received a MERIT award from the National Institutes of Health and has served as president of the Society for the Study of Reproduction. He was awarded the WSU Sahlin Faculty Excellence Award for Research, Scholarship and the Arts for 1998-99.

Griswold, who joined the WSU faculty in 1976, has trained more than 50 doctoral students and post doctoral fellows. He is recognized for maintaining an active funded research program while also serving in administrative roles.

Lewis, director, fellow and professor In the Institute of Biological Chemistry, came to WSU in 1990. He is recognized as one of the nation’s outstanding plant biochemists and for his strong record of training undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students in research.

Much of Lewis’ research focuses on how plants produce lignins, which help give plants their rigidity. Lignins must be broken down before plants can be used in the production of paper, fuel and other products. His studies of how lignins are formed has led to study of their nutritional/medicinal roles in either preventing or treating various cancers.

Poovaiah, professor of horticulture and landscape architecture, is recognized for his research achievements and as an exemplary teacher and mentor.

He became part of the WSU faculty in 1975. After receiving his first National Science Foundation grant in 1976, he has successfully competed for millions of dollars in awards from the NSF, National Aeronautical and Space Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Poovaiah gained international prominence for his pioneering research on calcium/calmodulin-modulated signaling in plants. His research program has led to many prestigious patents and publications, including papers in top scientific journals such as Science, Nature and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Yasinitsky, professor in the School of Music, has been a WSU faculty member since1982. He is a world-renown composer, performer, teacher and scholar of music.

More than 140 of his musical works have been widely published by top companies and his compositions are performed throughout the world. He has led the WSU jazz studies program to national prominence.

Among many awards, Yasinitsky received the 1989 William F. Mullen Award for Excellence In Teaching from the College of Liberal Arts; the 2004-05 College of Liberal Arts Faculty Achievement Award; and the 2005 Edward R. Meyer Distinguished Professorship Award.

A complete list of WSU Regents Professor is available online at the Faculty Awards Program (

For more information about Showcase, visit,

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