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COLLEGE STATION – Dr. Libo Shan, professor and director of the Norman E. Borlaug Center, Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology, has been appointed the Texas A&M University Christine Richardson Professorship in Agriculture.
As holder of the professorship, Shan will be responsible for continuing her research in life sciences per the original criteria of the professorship. Her research focuses on understanding how host-microbe interactions shape the evolution of microbial pathogenicity and plant immunity in both model and economically important plants.
“We are extremely proud of Dr. Shan and all of the hard work that goes into creating research opportunities of this magnitude,” said Dr. Patrick Stover, vice chancellor and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M and director of Texas A&M AgriLife Research.
“She is truly deserving of this honor, which is exemplified through her research and being ranked in the top 5 percent of researchers within her discipline. This is quite an achievement and is distinctive among Texas A&M faculty in agriculture and life sciences.”
The Richardson Professorship was established for the purpose of supporting a professor who has original and far-reaching ideas in life sciences and who can make the greatest impact in strengthening future life sciences programs. Endowed professorships such as this acknowledge a faculty member’s consistently outstanding performance and ability, according to nomination criteria.
Shan was named the interim director for the Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotechnology for Texas A&M in 2017 and director in 2018. Based on Academic Analytics comparing 682 faculty from 31 departments of plant pathology, she ranks in the 97th percentile in her particular area of interest.
“Based on her outstanding scholarship and impact, Dr. Shan is most deserving of this recognition,” wrote Dr. Clare A. Gill, interim executive associate dean for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and associate dean for research, in her nomination for the professorship.
Shan’s experience in research has spanned more than two decades and covered topics such as pathogen virulence effectors and host immune responses. It has also led to research programs that cover everything from the basics to advances in agricultural applications.
“To be recognized as the Christine Richardson Professor in Agriculture is a true honor,” Shan said. “This distinction is derived from the hard work of many creative and phenomenal students and postdocs from my lab over the years. As a plant molecular biologist, I am thrilled to have wonderful opportunities to work with many excellent colleagues and talented students on the A&M campus and around the world.”
Shan has built an active learning group, consisting of undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows working in a highly interactive learning environment that fosters critical thinking and independent problem-solving.
“Together we have the privilege to explore the genetic, biochemical and cellular mystery of plant resilience to stresses and responses to environmental cues,” she said. “The fundamental understanding of plant resilience and stress responses enables us to develop molecular toolsets and leverage our capacity on translational research to improve crop agricultural performance.”
“We will continuously lead the lane in research excellence by examples and make contributions in reducing the poverty and feeding the world via biotechnology in agriculture.”