THREE USDA SCIENTISTS HONORED BY PRESIDENT BUSH
WASHINGTON, July 31, 2006-Three scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture were honored last week with the 2005 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).
"We are proud of the many accomplishments of these scientists and pleased that they have received the recognition they clearly deserve," said Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns. "Their research has benefited our nation and the world in areas ranging from protecting the environment to improving food nutrition, and sets a standard of excellence to strive for in future research."
The PECASE recipients are Joseph M. Jez, from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Mo.; David B. Johnston, of USDA's Agricultural Research Service; and Christopher J. Fettig, from USDA's Forest Service.
Jez, an assistant member and principal investigator, was recognized for outstanding research in improving understanding of how crop plants could be produced to improve mineral nutrient uptake and nutritional content, and for serving as a teacher and mentor for graduate and undergraduate students.
Johnston, a food technologist with Crop Conversion Science and Engineering in Wyndmoor, Pa., developed novel, environmentally sustainable "green" biochemical and engineering processes that improve the way corn is processed into foods and fuel around the world, and for outstanding public service in this area.
Fettig, with the Chemical Ecology and Management of Forest Insects Unit of the Pacific Southwest Research Station in Albany, Calif., earned the PECASE award for outstanding contributions to understanding the impact of insects and fire on forest health, the importance of semiochemicals on the behavior of tree-killing bark beetles, and for leadership and commitment to professional and scientific societies.
PECASE nominees are selected for their innovative research, which is at the frontier of science and technology. PECASE nominees must show exceptional potential to shape the future through intellectual and inspired leadership, such as through the integration of research and education. Educational activities must reflect a spirit of community service and may include efforts to help their colleagues or the public understand the nature and implications of their scientific research.