Dr. Paula McSteen lauded for her research and mentoring excellence

The Division congratulates Dr. Paula McSteen on receipt of both the Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Research & Creative Activity in Biological Sciences and the Postdoctoral Faculty Mentor Award. 

McSteen is a leader in the field of maize genetics. She is internationally known for her work on the role of auxin in regulating the genes involved in the growth and development of the tassel and ear. She is also credited with uncovering a novel role for boron in tassel development, a “transformative discovery” that opened new avenues of research in the field of plant nutrition. Her recent work on the genetic mechanism underlying maize’s paired rows of kernels was highlighted last year in Science magazine.

“Dr. McSteen is as an outstanding and creative scholar, a first-rate experimentalist, and a community-oriented scientist who is working on important and exciting questions that are advancing our understanding of plant growth and development,” wrote Dr. Jim Birchler, her nominator for the Chancellor's Award. 

Her scientific impact also includes the six postdoctoral scientists she has mentored over her career, who have gone on to diverse careers in teaching, industry, government or academia. Advocacy for postdocs, professional training, and career development beyond the lab are three qualities that define her mentorship, wrote Dr. Norman Best, her nominator for the postdoctoral mentoring award. “She is an advocate for her mentees. She truly cares for their well-being and success."