MSU Graduate Students Receive Awards for Outstanding Research Efforts

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Graduate students studying with AgBioResearch scientists in plant biology, microbiology and molecular genetics, and agricultural, food and resource economics were honored at professional association meetings this summer.

Colleen Doherty and Michael Grillo were two of only five graduate students to receive the ASPB Pioneer Hi-Bred International Student Award at this year’s American Society of Plant Biologists annual conference in June in Mérida, Mexico. The award recognizes and encourages innovative research or leadership in an area of plant biology related to important crops.

Doherty, plant biology doctoral student in the lab of MAES scientist Mike Thomashow, director of the MSU-Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory, was honored for her dissertation research on how plants respond to cold stress. Grillo, plant biology student in the lab of MAES plant biologist Tao Sang, was recognized for his research and collaboration efforts with scientists at the Central Rice Research Institute in India to develop field sites to examine how individual traits in wild rice species have contributed to local adaptations to specific environments.

Two MSU graduate students working with MAES agricultural economist Scott Swinton received awards for their theses from the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) at its annual meeting in July in Orlando, Fla.

Wei Zhang was awarded “Outstanding Ph.D. Dissertation: Honorable Mention” for her 2007 doctoral dissertation, “Optimal Pest Management in the Presence of Natural Pest Control Services.” Only two doctoral dissertations received national awards.

Daniel Mooney was awarded “Outstanding M.S. Thesis: Honorable Mention” for his 2007 master’s thesis, “The Economic Impact of Disease-resistant Bean Breeding Research in Northern Ecuador.” Mooney’s was one of only four master’s theses to receive this national award.

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