After considering a number of possible awardees, each responsible for major discoveries in plant science, the selection committee chose Dr. Estelle for elucidating the mechanism of action of auxin, an essential regulator of plant growth and development. These studies recently culminated in the identification of the auxin receptor by Estelle's group and by Ottoline Leyser at the University of York. There had been exhaustive, multi-year searches by laboratories across the globe for this elusive finding.
Upon being notified that Dr. Estelle had won the award, ASPB President Michael Thomashow said "This is wonderful news about Mark. He is a superb scientist who has made seminal contributions to our understanding of hormone signaling. He is highly deserving of the prestigious Kumho International Science Prize."
Dr. Estelle commented, "I am very grateful and honored to be selected to receive the Kumho award. It is a tremendous endorsement of the work we are doing here at Indiana University."
The award ceremony will take place at the Kumho Art Gallery/Kumho Art Hall in Seoul, South Korea June 23, 2006. A $30,000 prize is included with the award, along with Dr. Estelle's round-trip travel to the award ceremony. Dr. Estelle will also speak on his research during the ASPB awards symposium at the Society's annual meeting in Chicago in 2007.
The year 2006 is the first year in which ASPB administered the award selection for the Kumho Cultural Foundation. The selection was previously done by the International Society of Plant Molecular Biologists. Dr. Roger Hangarter, ASPB Immediate Past President, notified Dr. Estelle of the award selection. Prior recipients of the award include Ingo Potrykus (2000), the Arabidopsis team of Chris Somerville et al. (2001), Dr. David Baulcombe of the UK (2002), Dr. Xing-Wang Deng of the US and China (2003), Dr. Joanne Chory of the US (2004), and Dr. Steven Tanksley of the US (2005).
Founded in 1924, ASPB is a science society of nearly 6,000 plant scientists from the United States and more than 50 other nations. ASPB publishes two of the world's leading plant science journals, Plant Physiology and The Plant Cell.
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