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IPG Student Named Young Botanist of the Year

Nate Ellis

The Botanical Society of America has recognized Interdisciplinary Plant Group (IPG) student Nate Ellis, a graduating senior in the Division of Biological Sciences, as a "Young Botanist of the Year." He will also receive a "Certificate of Special Achievement" from the Society and have this achievement published in the Plant Science Bulletin.

The purpose of the Young Botanist Award is to offer individual recognition to outstanding graduating seniors in the plant sciences and to encourage their participation in the Botanical Society of America. The award is very competitive and given to only twenty-seven students across the country.

Professors James Birchler, J. Chris Pires, and Lori Eggert, faculty in the Division of Biological Sciences, nominated Ellis for the award. Ellis is working with Dr. Pires for his undergraduate research and has been a student of both Birchler and Eggert.

"Nate has maintained an outstanding undergraduate record and shows great potential to succeed in science," says Pires, who is a member of the IPG and an investigator in the Bond Life Sciences Center and has been Ellis's undergraduate mentor for the past three years. "He has enormous potential to become an excellent researcher as well as an effective teacher and leader in the field."

Ellis grew up in Florissant, Missouri. His interests include chromosome biology and plant molecular cytogenetics. He will graduate this August and then will begin work as a research professional in the lab of Kelly Dawe at the University of Georgia, where he will also do his graduate work.

This year, Ellis was also awarded the John I. Hardy Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Award as well as an internship from MU's College of Arts and Science Undergraduate Research and Mentorship Program. He also won "best undergraduate poster" at MU's Life Sciences Week 2008.

The Botanical Society of America, one of the world's largest societies devoted to the study of plants and allied organisms, was established in 1906. The BSA promotes and encompasses all areas of plant biology.