Magdalena Bezanilla, the Ernest Everett Just 1907 Professor in the biological sciences department, was named a 2023 fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists.
The honor recognizes distinguished and long-term contributions to plant biology. A professional scientific society devoted to the advancement of the plant sciences worldwide, ASPB publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals, Plant Physiology and the Plant Cell, and co-publishes the open-access journal Plant Direct.
Throughout her career, Bezanilla has been recognized for her contributions to plant biology. Most recently, she made history as the first woman to win the Golden Spore Award from the International Molecular Moss Science Society. The annual award honors a researcher with a track record of at least a decade of influential research on non-seed plants.
"I'm thrilled to see Magdalena recognized for her commitment to scientific discovery and academic excellence," says Professor Thomas Jack, chair of the biological sciences department. "Through her research and teaching, she advances understanding of how plants grow and serves as a role model for generations of emerging scientists."
Bezanilla joined Dartmouth in 2017 as a professor in the Molecular and Cellular Biology graduate program. Her research uncovers the molecular mechanisms that pattern plant cells. Over the years she has received funding from organizations including the National Science Foundation, the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and Dartmouth College. Her many previous honors include being named a Diversity Magazine Emerging Scholar and a Kavli Frontiers Fellow.
In April, the Journal of Cell Biology published a study led by Bezanilla and senior research scientist Shu-Zon Wu on how the protein cellulose synthase-like D, or CSLD, plays a vital role in plant growth and is likely a generator of cellulose—the main structural component of all plants. The new finding has potential repercussions for many plant-dependent economic sectors, from biofuel to wood products to agriculture.