The American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) recently announced the recipients of its 2007 awards, presented at their annual meeting this summer in Chicago, Illinois. Richard Jorgensen, a professor in the University of Arizona Department of Plant Sciences, was designated a member of the 2007 inaugural class of ASPB Fellows.

Established in 2007, the Fellow of ASPB award is granted in recognition of distinguished and long-term contributions to plant biology and service to the Society by current members in areas that include research, education, mentoring, outreach, and professional and public service. Current members of ASPB who have contributed to the Society for at least 10 years are eligible for nomination.

In addition, Jorgensen received the ASPB Martin Gibbs Medal, presented biennially to an individual who has pioneered advances that have served to establish new directions of investigation in the plant sciences.

Jorgensen was honored for his pioneering work leading to the discovery of RNA interference (RNAi). The work on cosuppression and epigenetic gene silencing, conducted in plants by Jorgensen and his coworkers, significantly contributed to the present understanding of the scientific and practical importance of RNAi.

Founded in 1924, ASPB (formerly known as the American Society of Plant Physiologists) has a membership of approximately 5,000 plant scientists from the United States and more than 50 other nations. ASPB publishes two of the most widely cited plant science journals in the world, Plant Cell and Plant Physiology.