Montana State University

MSU announces finalists, public seminars for Montana Plant Sciences Chair

April 1, 2015 -- MSU News Service

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Researchers and educators from universities in Turkey, Washington, Kansas and Australia are finalists for the Montana Plant Sciences Chair– the first of its kind in the history of the Montana State University College of Agriculture and Montana Agricultural Experiment Station. The candidates will visit campus for interviews and public research seminars from April 9–22.

The finalists are, in order of their visits to campus: Hikmet Budak, professor of plant genetics at Sabanci University in Istanbul, Turkey; Deven See, director of the Western Regional Small Grains Genotyping Laboratory, USDA research geneticist and adjunct faculty at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash.; Harold Trick, professor of plant pathology at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan.; and; Michael Francki, senior research officer in Western Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Food and the Western Australian State Biotechnology Centre at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia. As part of the campus visits, each finalist will participate in public research seminars.

Mike Giroux, MSU professor of plant sciences and plant pathology and chair of the position’s search committee, said the national search attracted very talented and experienced candidates.

“We are pleased with the international and national repute of these candidates,” Giroux said. “They are each seasoned scientists in their own right, and we look forward to best matching the qualities of these candidates with the demands of the position not only for MSU, for but for Montana as well.”

A summary of the candidates’ backgrounds, and date and time of each of their public forums, follows in the order of the candidates’ visits to the Bozeman campus.

Budak will be on campus April 9-10.  He currently serves as the lead of the plant genetics and genomics team in the Biological Sciences and Bioengineering Program at Sabanci University in Sabanci, Turkey. Budak earned his Ph.D. in agronomy from the University of Nebraska. Budak will give a public research seminar on Thursday, April 9, at 9:30 a.m. in room 108 in the Plant Biosciences Building.

See will be on campus April 14-15. See earned a doctorate in plant pathology from Kansas State University. He will give a public research seminar on Tuesday, April 14, at 9:30 a.m. in room 108 of the Plant Biosciences Building.

Trick will be on campus April 16-17.  Trick earned a doctorate in biology from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla. He will give a public research seminar on Thursday, April 16, at 9:30 a.m. in room 108 of the Plant Biosciences Building.

Francki will be on campus April 21–22. He earned a doctorate in agriculture and natural resource science from the University of Adelaide in Adelaide, South Australia. He will give a public research seminar on Tuesday, April 21, at 9:30 a.m. in room 108 of the Plant Biosciences Building.

The endowed chair will be hosted in the MSU Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology, the MSU College of Agriculture and Montana Agricultural Experiment Station. All are are tasked with conducting research on ongoing challenges in Montana’s agriculture industry. Sustained by permanently invested funds, endowed chairs – which are often the highest academic award universities bestow on faculty – provide predictable and stable funding to help the university build upon its existing academic and research programs. The position is expected to be filled by a renowned, accomplished scientist who will build a significant research program addressing Montana’s greatest agricultural challenges in the grains industry.

MSU is among the nation's top tier of research universities, as recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The foundation has ranked MSU as one of 108 research universities with "very high research activity."

Contact: Mike Giroux, mgiroux@montana.edu or 994-7877