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DAA: Ronald L. Phillips

Ronald L. Phillips

, | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 1993

Dr. Phillips, a native of Huntington County, Indiana is a professor of Genetics and Plant Breeding and director of the Plant Molecular Genetics Institute at the University of Minnesota. He is wellknown for his love of teaching. His graduate course in cytogenetics is particularly prominent and has been taught more than twenty times at the University of Minnesota and in Italy and China. He has advised thirty graduate students and several postdoctoral students. He was awarded the Outstanding Faculty Performance Northrup King Award in 1985 for his excellence in teaching. Dr. Phillips developed one of the first modern biotechnology research programs. He is noted for his research on various aspects of plant genetics - bridging basic plant genetics with crop improvement. Dr. Phillips and a colleague were the first to regenerate corn plants from individual cells. This technological breakthrough has been highly recognized, and is now used by universities and companies around the world. There is great interest internationally in his subsequent studies of the variability among plants arising from tissue cultures. He has also developed laboratory screening procedures for improving the protein quality of corn and has identified a strain especially high in an essential amino acid required in the human diet. He and his students have been DNA-fingerprinting corn and oats and generating molecular genetic tags for important traits. They have recently begun to unravel the genetic biology of seed development. Dr. Phillips is a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received the Crop Science Research Award from the Crop Science Society of America in 1988. Dr. Phillips was recently recognized for his significant scientific contributions by being elected to membership in the National Academy of Sciences.