John Jelesko, an associate professor of plant pathology, physiology and weed science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been named a Fellow of The American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Jelesko was given the association’s highest honor for his distinguished contributions to the field of plant specialized metabolism, particularly in how master regulatory loci and alkaloid-specific transport processes regulate alkaloid accumulation levels, according to the association.

"Dr. Jelesko's designation as a Fellow of AAAS recognizes his significant accomplishments and his commitment to advance plant science and its applications," said Alan Grant, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "His efforts have led to a better understanding of the biology of plant metabolism with significant implications for the pharmaceutical and manufacturing industries."

Jelesko is among 388 members to be honored in a ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the organization’s annual meeting in Chicago. Prior to the event in February, Fellows will be named in the News & Notes section of the Nov. 29 issue of the journal Science.

Jelesko received his bachelor’s degree in bacteriology from the University of California at Davis and his master’s degree and Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Washington. Since 2000 he has called Virginia Tech his academic home and has taught courses in plant physiology that serve to connect science to a larger community such as plants, genes and people and biotechnology in a global society. 

He is also an affiliated faculty member at the Fralin Life Science Institute.

He has received numerous awards including the 2012 CIDER Teacher of the Week Award, and the National Science Foundation Center for Global Partnership Award and a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Plant Biology.

Jelesko is a participating faculty member of the Interdepartmental Molecular Plant Sciences program, a peer-to-peer initiative on campus of molecular plant science-oriented faculty members working collaboratively to recruit new graduate students to Virginia Tech and strengthen the molecular plant science activities and resources on campus.

His research initiatives have extended beyond the university into elementary school classrooms where he has promoted plant science as a vehicle for learning and discovery, as well as citizen scientist endeavors that engage adults outside the formal education system to share their biological observations. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

“This nomination as an AAAS Fellow inspires me to continue to take risks into yet other promising topics of plant science,” said Jelesko.



Written by Amy Loeffler.
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