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USDA Scientists Honored as AAAS Fellows

Two USDA scientists have been honored as 2017 Fellows by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, who serves as Administrator for USDA’s Agriculture Research Service as well as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics, and Dr. Autar K. Mattoo, an ARS plant physiologist, were named Fellows in a vote by the AAS Council in recognition of their contributions to science and technology, scientific leadership, and extraordinary achievements across disciplines.

AAAS has been awarding the Fellows distinction since 1874. Past honorees include inventor Thomas Edison, anthropologist Margaret Meade, and five of the 2017 Nobel Laureates. Along with other new AAAS Fellows, Dr. Jacobs-Young and Dr. Mattoo will be recognized at a Feb. 18 Fellows forum at the 2018 AAAS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas.

Dr. Jacobs-Young has headed ARS, the USDA’s chief scientific in-house research agency, since February 2014 and previously served as ARS’ Associate Administrator for National Programs. Prior to her tenure at ARS, she served as the Director of the USDA Office of the Chief Scientist, as Acting Director for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and as a senior policy analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. A native of Georgia, she holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from North Carolina State University.

Dr. Mattoo is an ST Level senior scientist at the ARS’s Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory in Beltsville, Md. Prior to returning to bench research in 2004, he served as a Research Leader for 16 years – nine years heading the Plant Molecular Biology Laboratory and seven years heading the Vegetable Laboratory at USDA-ARS. He specializes in Plant Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and his findings include the targeting of key genes in the fruit ripening process, and those in the polyamine biosynthetic pathway, to prolong the shelf life and increase the nutritive value of tomatoes. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, India.

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