WASHINGTON, Sept. 12Three internationally acclaimed
scientists have been selected for the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
Science Hall of Fame for
their decades of discoveries leading to papaya plants that fend off an enemy
virus, cotton plants resistant to insect and nematode pests, and human
nutrition recommendations to enhance our well-being.
N. Jenkins and Janet C. King will be honored at a dinner and ceremony
tonight at ARS' U.S. National Arboretum
Johnie N. Jenkins
Janet C. King
Jenkins, a research plant geneticist and director of the ARS
Science Research Laboratory at Mississippi State, Miss., is an authority on
the genetics controlling cotton plants' natural ability to resist attack by
boll weevils, cotton bollworms, tobacco budworms, tarnished plant bugs and
microscopic worms known as nematodes.
"Dr. Jenkins' theories and techniques," said ARS Administrator Edward
B. Knipling, "have resulted in pest-resistant cotton plants that are being used
throughout the world. Dr. Jenkins was among the first scientists to field-test
new transgenic cottons resistant to attack by tobacco budworms and cotton
bollworms, and has made important discoveries about previously unknown chemical
interactions between cotton plants and pest attackers."
Knipling commended Jenkins' mentoring of young scientists, including
more than 70 graduate students from a dozen countries who now train others and
either serve as ARS scientists or work for some of the world's leading cotton
seed companies. Jenkins joined ARS in 1961.
Gonsalves, a plant pathologist and director of the agency's
Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo, Hawaii, "is respected
by colleagues worldwide for his pioneering research on viruses that attack
fruits and vegetables," said Knipling. "Among other accomplishments, Dr.
Gonsalves led a team that used techniques of modern biotechnology to equip
papaya plants with resistance to papaya ringspot virus. His knowledge and
leadership not only helped save the papaya industry in Hawaiiand the
livelihood of many small growersbut also opened the door to helping
countries where papaya provides the vitamin A needed to prevent childhood
blindness and early death."
Formerly a professor of plant pathology at
Cornell University's agricultural
experiment station at Geneva, N.Y., Gonsalves came to ARS in 2002 after 25
years with the university, during which he received national and international
recognition for his cutting-edge research.
King, a nutrition scientist, is being honored for her national and
international leadership and achievements in human nutrition, including studies
that have led to new guidelines for healthful weight gain during pregnancy, and
new recommendations for daily intake of zinc.
"Dr. King has expertly led many national and international nutrition
policy committees, such as the advisory board that developed the current
Dietary Guidelines for
Americans," said Knipling. "Dr. King has also had leadership roles with
other prominent national or international committees, institutes and boards,
including the Food and Nutrition
Board of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, and
the Food and Agriculture
Organization and the World
Health Organization of the United Nations."
King came to ARS from the University of California-Berkeley in 1995,
where she had mentored more than 50 graduate and post-graduate students. During
her tenure with ARS, King served as director of the agency's
Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, Calif., strengthening the
research program there. She left ARS in 2003 to join the
Children's Hospital Oakland (Calif.) Research
Institute. She holds professorial appointments at the University of
California's Berkeley and Davis campuses.
The ARS Science Hall of
Fame program, established in 1986, recognizes agency researchers for
outstanding career achievements in agricultural sciences. Recipients must be
retired or eligible to retire to receive the award.
Plaques honoring the inductees are on permanent display at the ARS
National Visitor Center,
Beltsville, Md. ARS is USDA's chief scientific research agency.