CALS faculty and staff honored for outstanding achievements

Stacey Shackford
Photo: 2013 CALS Research and Extension Awards Ceremony.

Photo gallery

Bacteria have been studied for more than 400 years, but the fact that they routinely function as collectives was missed for 380 years – that is, until Stephen Winans introduced the concept of “quorum sensing.”

His groundbreaking work on chemical interactions in bacteria has fundamentally changed the perception of bacteria as primitive, asocial, single-celled organisms to organisms that have the ability to coordinate multicellular activities. And it recently garnered him an award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Basic Research.

The microbiology professor was one of 18 faculty and staff members honored on Nov. 4 as part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ (CALS) tenth annual Research and Extension Awards.

“These honorees represent a range of accomplishments that support our vision to be the pre-eminent college for research, teaching and extension of agriculture and life sciences,” said Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of CALS. “They epitomize Cornell’s land grant mission of delivering knowledge with public purpose that improves the lives of people across New York, the nation and the world.”

Other faculty awards included:

Christine D. Smart, associate professor of plant pathology and plant-microbe biology, for Outstanding Accomplishments in Applied Research. She was recognized for advancing the understanding and management of both black rot and Phytophthora blight, as well as creating detection systems for other vegetable pathogens.

Russell R. Hahn, associate professor of crop and soil sciences, for Outstanding Accomplishments in Extension/Outreach. His herbicide trials and strategies for controlling ragweed, dandelion and other field crop weeds have been a big boon to both conventional and no-tillage farmers.

Patrick J. Sullivan, associate professor of natural resources, for Outstanding Accomplishments in Science and Public Policy. He has become a recognized leader in global fisheries and marine policy, as well as natural resource management in bird and turtle conservation.

Alon Keinan, assistant professor of biological statistics and computational biology, for Outstanding Accomplishments in Early Achievement. He was recognized for his contributions to statistical genetics, including discoveries regarding human migration effects on variation and detecting the genetic bases for developmental disorders.

Timothy Mount, professor at the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and former director of Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research (CISER), for Career Accomplishment. In a career spanning 40 years, he has produced an extensive, influential body of research focused on energy economics.

Daniel Decker, professor and chair of the Department of Natural Resources, for Outstanding Service to the CALS community. He was recognized for the many leadership roles he has served in throughout his Cornell career, including CUAES director, creator and director of CALS Office of Land Grant Affairs, and associate dean of the college.

Several staff members were also honored with Core Value Staff Awards in each of the eight categories outlined in the university’s Skills for Success, including:

Wendy Aquadro, supervisor and mentor in the Department of Undergraduate Biology, for Teamwork; Akio Enders, technician in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, for Motivation; Mark Sarvary, Martha Lyon, Louise Lattin, and K.C. Bennett, lab staff members in Neurobiology and Behavior, for Adaptability; Michelle Bidwell, gardener at the Plantations Horticultural Center, for Communication; Matthieu Stratton, administrator in the Department of Food Science, for Inclusiveness; Paul O’Connor, extension support specialist in Cornell Cooperative Extension, for Self Development; Kent Loeffler, photo specialist in the Department of Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology, for Service Minded;
David Benscher, research support specialist in the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, for Stewardship.

Stacey Shackford is staff writer for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.