Loomis Professorship in Plant Physiology to LAS’ Diane Bassham

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The medallion ceremony honoring Diane Bassham, professor in the Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology, as the Walter E. and Helen Parke Loomis Professor of Plant Physiology at Iowa State University is Friday, October 25, at 4 p.m. in 1414 Molecular Biology Building.

Diane Bassham

Senior Vice President and Provost Jonathan Wickert will present the medallion to Bassham. Other speakers include Beate Schmittmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Jo Anne Powell-Coffman, professor and chair of the Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology (GDCB).

The new three-year professorship provides a GDCB faculty member supplemental annual funds to strengthen the faculty member’s research and teaching programs. The funds are often used to support students, purchase additional equipment and supplies, and attend professional meetings. Bassham is the first recipient of the Walter E. and Helen Parke Loomis Professorship of Plant Physiology.

The Loomis family established the Walter E. and Helen Parke Loomis Fund in 1981 to maintain and build upon Professor Walter E. Loomis’ legacy. Loomis came to ISU in 1927 and enjoyed a distinguished career as an imaginative researcher and renowned teacher in plant science. He died in 1977.

Bassham’s research focuses mainly on how autophagy (self-digestion by a cell) is activated when plants encounter environmental stress conditions so that, in the long term, the plant’s tolerance can be increased. Improving plant tolerance is a major agricultural goal, she added.

“I’m very excited that [this professorship] will allow me to continue to expand my research program in plant responses to environmental conditions," Bassham said.