Bethany Huot wins 2017 Kende award

  • Dec 12, 2017
  • awards, Montgomery lab, He lab
  • Future Scientists
  • By Igor Houwat
Bethany Huot at the bench
Bethany Huot at the bench. 
By Brian St. Aubin.

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.”

Related Stories

Fighting plant disease at warm temperatures keeps food on the table [VIDEO]
Fighting plant disease at warm temperatures keeps food on the table [VIDEO]
November 27, 2017

The Nature Communications study shows how high temperature weakens plant defenses while, separately, strengthening bacterial attacks.

Sushi and science: creating a student community of minds
Sushi and science: creating a student community of minds
June 21, 2016

Bethany Huot, a PhD student at the PRL, realized that science is best done in supportive and active communities. So she created The Pub Club, a successful student-driven collective.