Amasino, Ane, de Leon and McMahon honored with VCRGE awards

Left to right: Amasino, Ané, de Leon, McMahon.

Four CALS professors are among the 33 UW–Madison faculty honored with 2018 faculty fellowships through the UW–Madison Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education.

The VCRGE fellowships include the H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellowships, which recognize faculty up to six years past their first promotion to a tenured position; the Kellett Mid-Career Awards, which support faculty who are seven to 20 years past their first promotion to a tenured position; and WARF Named Professorships, which honor faculty who have made major contributions to the advancement of knowledge, primarily through their research endeavors, but also as a result of their teaching and service activities.

The recent awardees with CALS affiliations are:

  • Richard Amasino, (WARF Named), Carlos O. Miller Professor of Biochemistry, studies plant development and biochemistry. Advances from his research include development of methods to delay the senescence of plant tissues, discovering many of the molecular details of how plants flower in response to seasonal cues such as changes in day-length and temperature, and a better understanding of the epigenetic mechanisms by which plant genes are regulated.
  • Jean-Michel Ané,(Kellett), professor of bacteriology and agronomy, studies symbiotic associations between plants and microbes. His goal is to improve the use of beneficial microbes to increase crop productivity and agricultural sustainability. In particular, he is working on projects to enhance associations between crops and nitrogen-fixing bacteria to reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers. He teaches lectures on how to manipulate plant and microbial genomes as well as on plant, animal, and human microbiomes.
  • Natalia de Leon,(Romnes),  professor in the department of agronomy and trainer in the Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics Program. Her research integrates genomic, transcriptomic and phenomic information to accelerate translational research for enhanced sustainable crop productivity. de Leon teaches graduate courses in the area of quantitative genetics applied to plant breeding. She also serves as current co-chair of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences Equity and Diversity Committee and is previous co-chair of the Committee on Women in the University.
  • Katherine (Trina) McMahon,(Kellett), professor of bacteriology and professor of civil and environmental engineering, teaches courses on environmental engineering, environmental microbiology and in the Biocore Program. McMahon is passionate about faculty professional development, which she pursues as a co-faculty director of the UW-Madison Delta Program. Her research focuses on the water microbiome and the ecology and evolution of freshwater lake bacteria and bacteria responsible for cleaning wastewater.


The awards are made possible by research efforts of UW–Madison faculty and staff. Technology arising from these research efforts is licensed by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). Income from successful licenses is returned to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education to fund research activities throughout the divisions on campus, including these awards.

Read the full announcement on the UW–Madison News website.