The National Academy of Sciences announced today (April 30) the election of 125 members, including UC Davis’ Pam Ronald, distinguished professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and the Genome Center.
Of the 100 new national members, 40 are women — a record number and percentage in an academy election. This year’s class also includes 25 foreign associates. They join an academy that includes 190 Nobel Prize winners.
Membership is awarded in recognition of distinguished and continuing achievements in original research and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive.
“I am grateful to UC Davis for supporting my laboratory over so many years,” said Ronald, who noted that this week is her 27th anniversary at UC Davis. “My lab members, staff and colleagues have made this a fantastic place to work. I am so pleased and honored. Go science!”
As a plant pathologist and geneticist, Ronald researches genes that control disease resistance and tolerance to environmental stress in rice, one of the world’s most important crops. She is known for her engineering of flood tolerant rice, for which she and her colleagues were recipients of the USDA 2008 National Research Discovery Award.
“Pam Ronald is extremely deserving of this high honor,” said Dean Helene Dillard of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Pam’s work spans important fields in plant pathology and has revolutionized our understanding of how to improve genetic resistance to disease and environmental stress in rice, one of the world’s most important crops.”
Ronald also serves as director of grass genetics with the Joint BioEnergy Institute, a U.S. Department of Energy research center dedicated to developing advanced biofuels.
In 2015, Scientific American selected Ronald as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in biotechnology. Her 2015 Ted Talk on plant genetics, food security and sustainable agriculture has been viewed more than 1.7 million times and translated into 26 languages.