UC Riverside Academic Senate

2007-08 Faculty Research Lecturer

2007–08 Faculty Research Lecturer: Natasha Raikhel

Natasha Raikhel

Natasha Raikhel
Distinguished Professor of the Graduate Division
Botany and Plant Sciences

From its inception over fifty-five years ago, the Faculty Research Lecturer Award has been the highest honor that the Academic Senate bestows. Natasha Raikhel, Distinguished Professor of Botany and Plant Sciences, is a scholar who, by every standard, added luster to the award.

Raikhel’s studies of the molecular mechanisms governing trafficking in plants and of genetic control of cell wall polysaccharide biosynthesis have made lasting scientific contributions in plant biology. She has pioneered the use of chemical genomics to advance our knowledge of plant processes. As the director of the Center for Plant Cell Biology, Raikhel has pushed back the frontiers of the field, with what her colleagues describe as her “superb experimentalist,” if not “traditionalist,” approach: “It is fair to say that she is the world expert in this area” of “secretory trafficking,” especially with regard to its “multiple functions.”

Raikhel’s work has earned many distinguished awards, including, but not limited to, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Stephen Hales Prize from the American Society of Plant Biologists (which one outside referee describes as “the most prestigious award given by this society”), and a Senior Fellowship of the Japan Society for Promotion of Science. Raikhel has been invited to speak to distinguished assemblies of scientists all over the world. Her scholarly publications number in the hundreds.

Raikhel’s colleagues write from many major research centers, characterizing her innovations as having “had a strong effect on setting standards for experimental evidence and reporting in the plant biology community.” A major figure in her field writes that it is hard “to imagine another person who has contributed to her field more than” Raikhel. Her “contributions . . . are extraordinary. She is internationally and nationally recognized as a leader in the plant cell biology field, and her name is synonymous with intercellular trafficking in plants.” Still another writes that Raikhel is “the most highly visible person in [the] area of plant cell biology.”

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