Bethany Huot wins 2017 Kende award
Bethany Huot is the recipient of the 2017 Kende Award, which recognizes the best doctoral dissertation in the plant sciences at MSU from the previous two years.
In addition to a monetary award, Bethany presented a seminar on her research on December 11. She recently published an article in Nature Communications showing how hot temperature simultaneously weakens plant immune systems and strengthens pathogenic bacteria. The result is a double dose of danger to plants (see video here).
Bethany says, “One of the highlights at the PRL was the 2015 Golden Anniversary celebration. A key message I took away from listening to founding PRL members is that great explorers are most productive when given a vibrant, collaborative community in which they can thrive rather than merely survive.”
“Dr. Natasha Raikhel, a former PI, emphasized that it takes a lot of effort and leaders with commitment and vision to both establish and maintain such an environment."
"I think the collective contribution to plant science made by the PRL for over 50 years shows that the effort is well worth it. I am grateful to have been part of this community.”
"... Great explorers are most productive when given a vibrant, collaborative community in which they can thrive rather than merely survive.”
Sheng Yang He, Bethany’s mentor, says, “It was a uniquely rewarding and memorable experience to be Bethany’s mentor, along with Beronda Montgomery. Smart, articulate, and with a shining personality, Bethany is in a league of her own. Her dissertation was beautifully done, and results will likely have long-lasting impact on plant resilience research.
Bethany obtained a B.S. in biology from Western Michigan University Lee Honors College before coming to MSU, where she got a PhD in Cell & Molecular Biology while working in the Montgomery and He labs.
What’s next for Bethany?
“My two passions are community-building as a means of enhancing scientist development and productivity, and plant science research tackling major obstacles to address global food insecurity. Ultimately, I would like to have a position from which I can do both.”
Graduate student Hannah Parks and postdoctoral researcher María Santos Merino have been awarded the 2023 Anton Lang Memorial Awards at a ceremony which took place on Monday, April 24, 2023. This year’s lecture was given by University Distinguished Professor Thomas D. Sharkey from Michigan State University.
Found in acidic volcanic hot springs, the extremophilic alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae contains a unique process that allows them to survive in extreme environments. Researchers, led by graduate student Anne Steensma from the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory, are looking at this process and its potential to change how we understand the ways photosynthetic organisms adapt to environmental challenges like high temperatures.
By explaining a photosynthetic peculiarity in switchgrass, MSU researchers from the Walker lab may have unlocked even more of the plant’s potential.