TSL Group Leader bestowed lifetime honor as AAAS Fellow

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Professor Wenbo Ma, who moved her research group to The Sainsbury Laboratory in 2020, has been elected to the 2022 class of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Fellows. We are delighted to celebrate this distinguished honor with her.

Professor Wenbo Ma is internationally recognised in the field of plant pathology for her outstanding contributions in effector biology research. She is also one of the pioneers in determining the role of small RNAs in plant immunity against non-viral pathogens. Now, Wenbo will be recognized as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the Science family of journals.

Wenbo is among the 506 scientists, engineers and innovators who have been elected 2022 Fellows for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements throughout their careers.

Professor Nick Talbot, Executive Director of The Sainsbury Laboratory, says: “We are delighted that our senior group leader, Prof Wenbo Ma, has been elected as an AAAS Fellow for her distinguished achievements in plant pathology research. Wenbo is a highly regarded member of our TSL community and it is fantastic to see her scientific contributions recognized in this way. We look forward to celebrating many more achievements with her as she continues to uncover key concepts in plant-microbe interactions, whilst tackling some of the world’s most important crop diseases.”

In 2020, Wenbo moved her research group to The Sainsbury Laboratory following her position as a Professor in Plant Pathology at the University of California, Riverside. Professor Ma has established exciting new research programmes in major host-pathogen systems at The Sainsbury Laboratory, which will improve our understanding of important crop diseases such as potato late blight and citrus Huanglongbing (HLB) disease, also known as citrus greening.

Professor Wenbo Ma says: “I am thrilled and humbled to be elected a fellow of AAAS. This recognition belongs to all the past and current group members whom I have had the honour to work with. I am also blessed to have many wonderful colleagues and friends. My sincere gratitude to them all!“

A tradition dating back to 1874, election as a AAAS Fellow is a lifetime honor, and all Fellows are expected to maintain the highest standards of professional ethics and scientific integrity. Distinguished past honorees include W.E.B. DuBois, Ellen Ochoa, Steven Chu, Grace Hopper, Alan Alda and Mae Jemison. Joining the ranks of Fellows last year were roboticist Ayanna Howard, actor and science communicator Alan Alda and molecular biologist Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado.

Wenbo joins Sophien Kamoun and Jonathan Jones as the third Fellow who has been elected from The Sainsbury Laboratory throughout its history.

“AAAS is excited to announce the newest class of fellows from across the scientific enterprise in a tradition dating back nearly 150 years and to honor their broad range of achievements,” said Sudip Parikh, AAAS chief executive officer and executive publisher of the Science family of journals.