Four NatSci faculty members earn University Distinguished Professor title

Published June 26, 2017

Four Michigan State University (MSU) College of Natural Science (NatSci) professors were among ten MSU faculty members named University Distinguished Professors in recognition of their achievements in the classroom, laboratory and community. They are:

Diane Ebert-May

Diane Ebert-May, professor and director of undergraduate studies, Department of Plant Biology, provides international leadership for discipline-based biology education research that integrates life sciences and cognitive science. She promotes professional development, assessment and improvement of faculty, postdoctoral scholars and graduate students who actively participate in creative research about teaching and learning in the context of their scientific discipline.

Gregg Howe

Gregg Howe, MSU Foundation Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory, is an internationally recognized leader in research on plant hormone biology and plant-insect interactions. Howe uses a combination of genetic, cell biological, molecular, and biochemical analyses to study how plants use defensive compounds to thwart insect attack. Howe was also recently named an MSU Foundation Professor.

Douglas Landis

Douglas Landis, professor, Department of Entomology, focuses his research on the ecology, conservation and management of insects in agricultural landscapes. Research themes in his lab include understanding the influence of landscape structure on insect ecology, design of sustainable landscapes to promote ecosystem services, conservation/restoration of rare species and communities, and invasive species ecology and management.

Mark Meeshaert

Mark Meerschaert, professor, Department of Statistics and Probability, is nationally known for his research in the areas of probability, statistics, statistical physics, mathematical modeling, operations research, partial differential equations and applications. His current research interests include fractional calculus, heavy tail models in finance, modeling river flows with heavy tails and periodic covariance structure, medical imaging and ground water flow and transport.

“Professors Ebert-May, Howe, Landis and Meerschaert are outstanding scientists and very significant contributors to Michigan State,” said R. James Kirkpatrick, NatSci dean. “The entire college is very proud of their achievements.”

The MSU Board of Trustees voted on and approved the recommendations on June 21.

The title of University Distinguished Professor is among the highest honors that can be bestowed on a faculty member by the university. Those selected for the title have been recognized nationally and internationally for the importance of their teaching, research and outreach achievements. Individuals holding the professorship will receive, in addition to their salary, a stipend of $5,000 per year for five years to support professional activities.

A reception to honor the newly designated University Distinguished Professors will be held in November.

For the complete list of 2017 University Distinguished Professors, visit