Gary Stacey Named Fellow of American Society of Plant Biologists

Gary Stacey Gary Stacey

Columbia, Mo – Gary Stacey, endowed professor of plant sciences, has been named a Fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists. Established in 2007, the honor is given in recognition of distinguished and long-term contributions to both research in plant biology and service to the Society. Stacey was recognized for his research on soybean genomics and plant and microbe interactions.

Stacey's research concerns interactions between plants and microbes. Since the 1980s, his lab has studied the symbiotic relationship between the soil bacterium, Bradyrhizobium japonicum, and soybean. His lab chemically characterized signal molecules released by both plant and bacteria that allow the intimate interaction between these two organisms. His pioneering research into the genetics of the bacterium also resulted in the identification of the biochemical signal that results in the formation of nodules on the soybean. This discovery led to the patents that underlie Optimize, a bacterial compound that accelerates soybean vigor.

Recently, the Stacey lab was instrumental in sequencing the soybean genome, the first major crop legume species with a published complete draft genome sequence. The lab is currently testing out a number of tools to help determine the specific function of genes in soybean, which could lead to more targeted plant improvement.

Stacey's research accomplishments have garnered him numerous awards and honors, including his election to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2009 and the American Academy of Microbiologists in 2010. He also received Distinguished Researcher Award from MU's College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources. In 2009, he was appointed to chair the U.S. Department of Energy's Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee.

Stacey has served on the Executive Committee of the ASPB since 2008 and chaired the Public Affairs Committee from 2004 to 2010. He was monitoring editor of Plant Physiology, published by the ASPB, from 2002 to 2005 and associate editor from 2005 to 2007.

Stacey joined MU faculty as an endowed professor of plant sciences in 2002. He holds a joint appointment in the Department of Biochemistry. He directs the MU Center for Sustainable Energy and co-directs the National Center for Soybean Biotechnology. He is also a member of MU's Interdisciplinary Plant Group. He earned his doctoral degree in microbiology at the University of Texas in Austin in 1978 and his bachelor's degree in biology from Bowling Green State University in 1974.

Stacey is the fourth faculty member in the IPG to earn distinction as a Fellow of the ASPB. Other faculty members to earn this distinction are Douglas Randall (2007), Thomas Guilfoyle (2007), and Melvin Oliver (2009).

The ASPB is the major scientific society in plant biology with over 5000 members, and its annual meeting draws about 1,500 of the nation's plant biologists and students.

The IPG is a professional community of MU faculty, students and professionals from a range of scientific disciplines who are pursuing novel, creative and transformative ideas in the field of plant biology. More information about the IPG can be found at ipg.missouri.edu.