NatSci alum, staffer receive 2018 Grand Awards honors

  • Nov 13, 2018
  • alumni, Grand Award Gala, Award, event
  • Homepage News, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Research, College of Natural Science, Physics & Astronomy

A NatSci alum and department staffer were among the slate of 11 impressive Spartans recently honored at the 2018 Grand Awards Gala, which recognizes the best of the best MSU Spartans— those making an impact in their companies, communities, and at Michigan State University.

Roger Neil Beachy (Ph.D., Natural Science; Honorary degree, 2001), professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis and developer of the world’s first genetically modified food crop, received one of five Distinguished Alumni Awards. This award recognizes those who have distinguished themselves by obtaining the highest levels of professional accomplishments and who possess the highest standards of integrity and character to positively reflect and enhance the prestige of MSU.

Research in Beachy’s lab focuses on understanding how plant viruses cause disease and developing novel strategies to reduce the consequences of virus infection. More specifically, his research includes studies of the molecular structure and cellular mechanisms that characterize coat protein mediated resistance against tobacco mosaic virus (TMV); the cellular, biochemical, and genetic components that influence cell–cell spread of TMV; and the biochemical activity of host transcription factors that control expression of rice tungro bacilliform badnavirus.

Beachy currently serves as senior science adviser for several start-up companies and multiple nonprofit institutes in China and Italy. He previously served as founding executive director of the World Food Center at UC Davis. President Obama appointed him to the National Science Board (current) and director and chief scientist of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture at the USDA. He was founding president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, held leadership roles at The Scripps Research Institute and was director of the Center for Plant Science and Biotechnology at Washington University in St. Louis. Beachy is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and received the 2001 Wolf Prize in Agriculture.

"Being recognized for the body of work one does as a scientist is great to receive,” Beachy said. “However, being recognized for contributions made in one's life that extend beyond science to economic and policy impacts, is more rare. That Michigan State University did so for me through the Distinguished Alumni Award is both gratifying and humbling. And encourages me to continue on in like manner."

Marc Sherwood Conlin (B.S., College of Engineering/M.B.A., Eli Broad College of Business), personnel manager for the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the MSU College of Natural Science received one of two Alumni Service Awards. Alumni Service Awards are presented to those who have demonstrated continuing outstanding volunteer service to MSU and/or meritorious public service on a local, state, national or international level. Recipients must possess the highest standards of integrity and character to positively reflect and enhance the prestige of MSU.

Conlin began his career with the physics and astronomy department in 1969 as a student stockroom manager and went on to become its administrative assistant and business operations manager before assuming his current role. Once the student manager, Conlin served as staff adviser for MSU's campus radio station, WDBM, and was responsible for obtaining its FM station license.

The 2018 Grand Alumni Awards Gala was held at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center on Nov. 9. Recipients were selected by the MSU Alumni Association Awards Committee.

 

Banner image: NatSci alum Roger Beachy and department staffer Marc Conlin were among the slate of 11 impressive Spartans recently honored at the 2018 Grand Awards Gala, which recognizes the best of the best MSU Spartans— those making an impact in their companies, communities, and at Michigan State University.