UC Riverside molecular biochemist named to German National Academy of Sciences

Credit: IIGB, UC Riverside.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Katayoon Dehesh, the director of the Institute for Integrative Genome Biology (IIGB) and the Ernst and Helen Leibacher Endowed Chair in Botany and Plant Sciences at the University of California, Riverside, has been elected to the Leopoldina, the German National Academy of Sciences.

Founded in 1652, the Leopoldina is one of the oldest academies of science in the world, with a membership that has included such luminaries as Marie Curie, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, and Max Planck.

Dehesh, a professor of molecular biochemistry, joined UC Riverside in July 2016. Previously she was the Paul Stumpf Endowed Chair in Plant Biochemistry at UC Davis.

She will join the Organismic and Evolutionary Biology section of the Leopoldina, in line with her primary research interests in deciphering the molecular and biochemical regulatory mechanisms underlying stress-induced responses that ensure organismal integrity and environmental adaptation. Specifically, her lab examines how stress signals are sensed in plants and the mechanisms by which they integrate targeted processes.

“We are all incredibly proud that Katie has been elected to the German National Academy of Sciences, the Leopoldina,” said Natasha Raikhel, former director of IIGB and the Center for Plant Cell Biology. “It is a very rare and special privilege and honor. Katie’s enthusiasm and passion for her science is equaled only by her devotion to helping young scientists succeed. She is fearless and stands up for principles in both science and in life. For this and many other reasons, Katie is a visionary leader for the IIGB.”

Dehesh will travel to Germany in May 2018 to formally accept the honor.


She is the recipient of several other awards and honors, including being named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Honorary Professor at South West University, China; Excellence in Education Award, UC Davis; Monsanto Fellow; and the Iran National Award.

IIGB is a multidisciplinary organization on campus, with faculty members spanning four colleges and over 20 departments. Its mission is to foster interdisciplinary collaborations among researchers on campus and within the scientific community by coupling computational approaches and technological innovations with molecular and cellular biology to solve the complex biological problems facing our society today.

The University of California, Riverside is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California’s diverse culture, UCR’s enrollment is now nearly 23,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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