Michigan State University (MSU) plant scientist Gregg Howe has been named an MSU Foundation Professor. Howe, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a researcher in the MSU-Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory, studies how plants defend themselves in response to insects and other environmental stresses.
According to MSU Provost June Pierce Youatt, MSU Foundation Professorships demonstrate the university’s commitment to recognizing and rewarding world-class scholars. The title is bestowed by MSU, with support from the MSU Foundation, to provide five years of supplemental research support to awardees. Howe will hold the MSU Foundation Professor designation permanently.
“Professor Howe’s work has important applications in helping the world find ways to improve such basic – and critical – processes as crops’ resistance to insects,” said Youatt. “He is making significant progress in advancing our understanding of plant biology.”
R. James Kirkpatrick, dean of the College of Natural Science, said Howe uses a combination of genetic, cell biological, molecular, and biochemical analyses to study how plants use defensive compounds to thwart insect attack. “Howe has taken the novel approach of inferring plant processes by studying how predatory insects are affected by a plant’s defensive arsenal.”
Since joining the MSU faculty in 1997, Howe has become an internationally recognized leader in research on plant hormone biology and plant-insect interactions. Stephen Hsu, Vice President of Research and Graduate Studies said, “Howe has made a number of seminal contributions to the understanding of the biosynthesis of the plant hormone jasmonate and its role in plant defense. Those contributions to his field have been nationally recognized with such honors as his being named a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science.”
Howe’s research program is funded by major grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.