Leeann Thornton Named President-Elect of the American Society of Plant Biologists

Leeann Thornton works with undergraduate researchers in her lab. (photo/Aaron Wilson Watson)

Leean Thorntonprofessor of biology at TCNJ, was named president-elect of the American Society of Plant Biologists.

She will begin her term on October 1, 2022.

“It’s a huge honor to be chosen to represent this company because my identity as a plant biologist has always been a big part of my career,” said Thornton. “This position will allow me to interact with more of my colleagues around the world. I will be immersed in the plant biology community and be more attuned to the most important questions and the main problems that we need to answer in our field.

Thornton is particularly proud to have been the first elected president of the ASPB chosen from a primarily undergraduate institution.

“It’s a big deal that the ASPB diversifies its leadership and relies on different types of institutions,” she said. “TCNJ is a model for primarily undergraduate institutions with excellent research opportunities and strong support for faculty members.”

Thornton, who has been at the college since 2007, had her first experience with the ASPB when she was an undergraduate student at James Madison University in 1997. She won a research competition and got a membership from a year who exposed her to the benefits of being part of the organization.

Now she will lead the group of more than 4,000 members worldwide.

One of her main goals as president-elect and then president is to promote the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

“ASPB was fortunate to receive a grant from the National Science Foundation that facilitates education and conversations about increasing diversity and inclusion in our field,” said Thornton. “This grant will help the ASPB and other professional societies come together, receive training, and engage in projects that improve diversity and inclusion and break down barriers in plant science.”

The American Society of Plant Biologists was founded in 1924 to promote the growth and development of plant biology, to encourage and publish research in plant biology, and to promote the interests, growth, and education of plant scientists. Over the decades, the society has evolved and grown to provide a forum for molecular and cellular biology as well as to serve the fundamental interests of plant science. It publishes the most cited and respected journals Plant physiology and The plant cell, and co-published the journal Sound Science Open Access Factory direct. Membership spans six continents, and members work in fields as diverse as universities, government laboratories, and industrial and commercial environments.

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