Botany 2011 Featured Speakers

Dr. Peter RavenPlenary Address

Dr. Peter H. Raven is one of the world's leading botanists and advocates of conservation and biodiversity.
For four decades, he headed the Missouri Botanical Garden, an institution he nurtured into a world-class center for botanical research and education, and horticultural display. He retired as president in 2010 and assumed the role of president emeritus and consultant through 2014.
Described by Time magazine as a "Hero for the Planet," Raven champions research around the world to preserve endangered plants and is a leading advocate for conservation and a sustainable environment.
In recognition of his work in science and conservation, Raven is the recipient of numerous prizes and awards, including the prestigious International Prize for Biology from the government of Japan and the U.S. National Medal of Science, the country's highest award for scientific accomplishment. He has held Guggenheim and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowships.
Raven was a member of President Bill Clinton's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology. He also served for 12 years as home secretary of the National Academy of Sciences and is a member of the academies of science in Argentina, Brazil, China, Denmark, India, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Sweden, the U.K., and several other countries. The author of numerous books and reports, both popular and scientific, Raven co-wrote Biology of Plants, an internationally best-selling textbook, now in its sixth edition. He also co-authored Environment, a leading textbook on the environment. (Source: Missouri Botanical Garden Website)

Donn Cummings

Student Involvement in Botany Luncheon

 Dr. Donn Cummings is a member of the Technical Community of Monsanto Company; a leading innovator in global agricultural products, headquartered in St. Louis, MO. Monsanto is committed to developing critical innovations that enable farmers to produce more crops, while conserving natural resources that are essential to their success.  Monsanto is the leading global producer and marketer of row crop and vegetable seeds.

Dr. Cummings is a Monsanto Scientific Fellow, since 2003.  In July 2007, following a successful 30 year career in corn breeding in Central Indiana, Donn assumed his present position as Global Breeder Sourcing Lead.  In this role, he manages university partnerships in the area of graduate student education in Plant Breeding and related sciences.  He is assisting with development of the plant sciences talent pipeline for scientific careers at Monsanto, especially in the area of Plant Breeding.  Dr. Cummings is currently serving as Chairman of the Education Subcommittee for the National Association of Plant Breeders. He is a Vice President on the Board of Directors of the National Council of Commercial Plant Breeders for the American Seed Trade Association.

Dr. Cummings earned degrees at Purdue (BS, Biology Education, 1971; MS, Plant Breeding and Genetics, 1973), and a PhD degree in Plant Breeding and Genetics (1977) from the University of Minnesota.  Currently, Donn works out of the Lebanon, IN Corn Research Station, which was built new, and opened in August 2004, near Indianapolis.


Matthew AlbrechtRegional Botany Special Lecture

Conservation of Imperiled Midwest Plants

Matthew Albrecht is Assistant Curator for Conservation Biology in the Center for Conservation & Sustainable Development of the Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG). A native of St. Louis, he conducted his Ph.D. research at Ohio University on the population biology of Appalachian medicinal plants and the fire ecology of eastern oak forests.

At MBG, he currently coordinates efforts to conserve imperiled plants in the Midwest and is the conservation officer for the Center for Plant Conservation. His current research on rare plants focuses on their reintroduction ecology, population dynamics, seed dormancy and germination traits, and potential responses to climate change.


Pam SoltisAnnals of Botany Special Lecture

Angiosperm Phylogeny: The Role of Polyploidy in Diversification and Genome Evolution

Pamela Soltis is Curator and Distinguished Professor of the Laboratory of Molecular Systematics and Evolutionary Genetics at the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida.  Her research interests are angiosperm phylogeny, polyploidy, the evolution of the flower, conservation genetics of rare plant species, and phylogeography. With her colleagues, she has played a major role in reconstructing the plant branch of the Tree of Life and in relaying this information to the scientific community and the general public.
Dr. Soltis received her PhD from the Department of Botany at the University of Kansas in 1986.  She has served on the Councils of the Society for the Study of Evolution, the American Society of Plant Taxonomists, the American Genetics Association, and the Society of Systematic Biologists.  She was Secretary of the Botanical Society of America and President of the Society of Systematic Biologists and the Botanical Society of America.  She has served as an Associate Editor for the journals Evolution, Systematic Biology, Molecular Biology and Evolution, and Conservation Genetics and is currently a co-editor for the American Journal of Botany Primer Notes and Protocols and PLoS Currents Tree of Life and subject editor for PhytoKeys.


Dr. Mary ClutterEnhancing Scientist Diversity in Plant Biology Luncheon

2050 Challenges

Mary E. Clutter is former assistant director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), where she was responsible for the Biological Sciences Directorate that supports all major areas of fundamental research in biology. Dr. Clutter has also served as the U.S. Chair of the U.S.-European Commission Task Force on Biotechnology, a member of the Board of Trustees of the international Human Frontiers Science Program, a member of the Board of Regents of the National Library of Medicine, a member of the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education and Economics Advisory Board, chair of the Biotechnology Subcommittee of the Committee on Science of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), co-chair of the Subcommittee on Ecological Systems of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources/NSTC and co-chair of the NSTC Committee on Science's Interagency Working Group on Plant Genomes. She is a member of numerous professional societies and has served on the Board of Directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She is a Fellow of the AAAS and the Association for Women in Science. Dr. Clutter received her B.S. in biology from Allegheny College and her Master's and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. She also holds honorary doctorates from Allegheny College and Mt. Holyoke College and has received the Medal of Distinction from the University of Pittsburgh. (Source:  AIBS Website)

Dr. Ralph Quatrano

2011 Kaplan Memorial Lecture in Comparative Development

Mechanisms of cellular polarity: a comparative approach from mosses to seed plants

Dr. Ralph S. Quatrano will give the 2011 Kaplan Memorial Lecture in Comparative Development.  He received his undergraduate degree from Colgate University (1962) and his Ph.D. in Biology from Yale University (1968).  During his career he has held professorships at Oregon State University, where he was the founding director of the Center for Gene Research and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Ralph arrived at Washington University in 1998 where he is immediate past Dean of Arts & Sciences and Dean of the School of Engineering & Applied Science.  He is also chair of the Executive Council of the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences and initiated the joint research program in Plant Sciences with Monsanto. Ralph was the Editor of The Plant Cell (1998-2003), and served on the Board of Reviewing Editors for Science (1991-98).  He served as President of ASPB (1982-93) and is a Fellow of the AAAS, the St. Louis Academy of Science and the ASPB. 

Linda WatsonAmerican Society of Plant Taxonomists

Dr. Linda E. Watson, President Elect of ASPT, will give the after dinner talk at the banquet.  She is a plant molecular systematist who has specialized in the Sunflower Family (Asteraceae), primarily in Tribes Anthemideae and Senecioneae (Subfamily Asteroideae) - the daisies, chrysanthemums, sagebrushes, ragworts, and groundsels.  Her research employs molecular phylogenies to resolve major lineages within the tribes and to understand historical biogeography and patterns of diversification.  Phylogenies for these tribes have been used to test hypotheses regarding diversifications in Mediterranean regions of the world following warming trends during the Tertiary.  Dr. Watson received her Ph.D. in Botany (Plant Systematics) from the University of Oklahoma (1989).  She worked for the Oklahoma Biological Survey, a non-academic unit at the University of Oklahoma, from 1988-1995 as the rare plant botanist for the state and was responsible for documenting occurrences and developing monitoring and conservation plans for rare and endemic species.  She then joined the Department of Botany at Miami University (Oxford, OH) from 1995-2008 where she held traditional academic positions, before relocating to Oklahoma State University where she is Professor and Head of Botany.

Dr. Steve WellerAddress of the BSA President-Elect
the All-Society Banquet

Broadening Horizons in the Botanical Society of America

Dr. Stephen Weller is a professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Irvine.  His research interests have focused on the evolution of plant breeding systems in the Hawaiian Islands.  His work on some of the most highly endangered species in Hawaii has led to research in conservation and restoration in the Hawaiian Islands, and an interest in how interactions among invasive species affect the native flora.  He is especially interested in research that will help guide successful restoration efforts.  Dr. Weller held the McBryde Chair in Hawaiian Plant Sciences at the National Tropical Botanical Garden from 1995-1998.  He has also worked on plant breeding system evolution in the Sky Islands of the Sonoran Desert, where he has tracked frequencies of reproductive morphs in heterostylous Oxalis for over 30 years.  Dr. Weller has been an associate editor for the American Journal of Botany, Biology Letters, and Evolution.  Dr. Weller received his B.S. in botany at the University of Michigan, and his Ph.D. in botany from the University of California, Berkeley, and he is a Fellow of the AAAS. 


Participating Societies
American Fern Society
Society for Economic Botany
American Society of Plant Taxonomists
Botanical Society of America