John Innes Centre scientist joins illustrious company in receiving American honour

Professor Dame Caroline Dean (FRS) has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Professor Dean, a group leader here at the John Innes Centre, is among 250 eminent individuals elected to the Academy in 2020. She joins as an International Honorary Member under the class of biological sciences.

In time-honoured Academy tradition Professor Dean will be invited to respond with a written letter of acceptance. Copies of some of these historic letters from 1780 to the present are on exhibit at the Academy headquarters at Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Professor Dean’s ground-breaking research over a 32-year career at the John Innes Centre has focused on two central questions in plant biology: ‘why do plants have to pass through winter before they bloom, a process known as vernalization?’ and ‘how do they remember that they have been exposed to cold?’

Other distinguished international members include Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill, Laurence Olivier, paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey, John Maynard Keynes, film director Akira Kurosawa, and Nelson Mandela.

Current members represent innovative thinkers in every field and profession, including more than two hundred and fifty Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners.

“I’m deeply honoured to be elected to such an historic and illustrious institution: a look at the list of present and past members is truly humbling,” said Professor Dean.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences honours excellence and draws leaders from every field of human endeavour to examine new ideas, address issues of importance to the American nation and the world.

Membership is achieved thorough a petition, review, and election process and has long been considered a high honour of scholarly and societal merit.

Election to the academy is the second major honour received by Professor Dean this year: in January she was awarded the prestigious Wolf Prize in recognition of her long and distinguished career at the John Innes Centre. A list of current Academy members in Professor Dean’s field is available here, and a complete list of the newly elected members is available on the Academy’s website.

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