Jonathan Wendel, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology, has been elected as a Distinguished Fellow of the Botanical Society of America. This is the BSA’s highest award.
Each year, the award committee solicits nominations, evaluates candidates, and selects those to receive an award. Awardees are chosen based on their outstanding contributions to the mission of the BSA’s scientific society. The committee identifies recipients who have demonstrated excellence in basic research, education, public policy, or who have provided exceptional service to the professional botanical community, or who may have made contributions to a combination of these categories. Tom A. Ranker, President of BSA, said this is a "well-deserved recognition of Wendel’s stellar career."
In 2012, an international consortium of scientists that included Wendel mapped the genome sequence for cotton in a paper published in the journal Nature. Wendel was the second lead author of the paper. His lab carried out much of the biology experimentation and research that went into the genome sequencing project. The same year, Wendel was one of the winners of the Cotton Biotechnology Award, presented by Cotton Inc., an award that goes to scientists whose biotechnology research has significantly contributed to the advancement of cotton. The award recognized Wendel and four other scientists who were part of a consortium that mapped the genome sequence for cotton. The sequencing of the genome has had sweeping ramifications for cotton growers, plant biologists and producers who grow other cash crops.
Wendel is also the chair of the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Iowa State University.