A professor from the University of Nevada, Reno, was elected as a 2016 American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow this semester.
Dr. Jeffrey Harper of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology was elected to the AAAS for his distinguished efforts to advance science and its applications in October. He was one of 392 professors across the globe elected into the AAAS this year.
“I feel honored, humbled and lucky,” Harper said. “Now that I am a Fellow, I have the privilege of nominating others. As I think about utilizing that privilege, I plan to nominate people who have worked with a passion to make fundamental scientific discoveries and have inspired others to do the same. I hope that the people who nominated me had the same perspective.”
This is not Harper’s first award in his career. He was awarded Researcher of the Year within his department in 2009 and Fellow of the American Society of Plant Biology in 2013.
Harper began working at UNR in 2004 as an associate professor and worked his way to becoming a full professor of molecular biosciences in 2008. He now mentors undergraduate and graduate students in labs. He has helped publish over 100 works since.
“This honorary recognition reflects well not only on Jeff Harper as an individual scientist but on his department, the college and indeed the university,” dean and professor of the College of Agriculture William Payne said in a press release. “We are very proud of Jeff.”
Harper earned his doctorate in cell and integrative biology from Washington University, St. Louis in 1985. His current interests are in plant biology, calcium signal transduction, pollen, and temperature and drought stress. He is researching how a plant can use as few as 28,000 genes to develop and survive under extreme environmental conditions.
“My proudest moments are yet to come,” Harper said. “I am currently most proud of the discoveries that I am working on right now and will be published in the next couple of years. I think I’m most proud of the continuing journey and the personal satisfaction I get from working with others to create new knowledge.”
He is part of a group of UNR professors trying to set up a dryland agriculture center. Dryland agricultural systems are resilient to climate change and maintain or enhance the environment.
“My work is more than a job- it’s an opportunity,” Harper said. “I am fortunate to be part of a stimulating group of plant scientists who come to work every day with a goal of making fundamental scientific discoveries and helping students learn about biochemistry. I have been given the opportunity to create and teach new knowledge, and I am thankful for that every day.”
Harper joins several other professors at UNR to be elected into the AAAS. He will be honored Saturday, Feb. 18, at the AAAS Fellows Forum in Boston.
AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science.
Madeline Purdue can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @madelinepurdue.