The Society for In Vitro Biology established the Fellow Award to recognize outstanding professionals who have made significant contributions to the field of in vitro biology and demonstrated service to the Society. The Society for In Vitro Biology honored Dr. Randall Niedz and Dr. Fredy Altpeter with Fellow Awards at the 2018 In Vitro Biology Meeting in Saint Louis, MO. This issue of the In Vitro Report will highlight Dr. Randall Niedz. Dr. Fredy Altpeter will be highlighted in a future issue of the In Vitro Report.
Randy Niedz Receives the 2018 Fellow Award
Randy Niedz, a long-time member of SIVB, has been an active participant at the SIVB meetings with his oral and poster presentations. He has convened and been involved in organizing many workshops and symposia at the SIVB meetings. A 2017 symposium “Practical media improvement using DOE: cast study comparisons of a commercially available MS media improvement kit” was based upon his research. His contribution to student activities at the meeting has been to serve as a panel judge for the Plant Biotechnology Student Oral Presentation Competition for several years. Randy has served as an associate editor of In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology-Plant for 15 years, and he continues to serve as well as write reviews and articles for the journal.
Randy has made significant scientific contributions by using originality and creativity to develop in vitro methods for citrus plant improvement. Some of the technologies that he has developed are also useful to the in vitro culture and manipulation of other plant species, and his work on in vitro mineral nutrition methods and concepts extends to fields well beyond his own, having broad implications to any scientific field that utilizes ions – biology, ecology, medicine, chemistry, and physical chemistry or any field where culture media of any sort are used (e.g., entomology, animal science, plant pathology).
Some of his most significant discoveries include 1) the first demonstration and use of the green fluorescent protein (GFP) from a bioluminescent jellyfish in plants – since publication of this discovery, GFP has become one of the most widely used in vivo reporter genes in plants and animals; 2) the first report that demonstrated the use of an industrial biocide, the isothiazolone compounds, in plant tissue culture to address the very serious problem of culture contamination; 3) the development of an algorithm that solves the long-standing and vexing problem of ion confounding in experimental biology, plus software to easily implement and use the algorithm in making ionic formulations (e.g., tissue culture media); and 4) the development of a conceptual framework, and associated software, for treating ions as independent statistical factors, resulting in a unique and much improved approach to the design of culture media, and this has resulted in commercial products and usage.
Randy’s enthusiasm for his research and involvement in SIVB make him a wonderful person to interact with.
Submitted by Kathy Kamo and Jeffrey Adelberg