Professor Cathie Martin made an MBE

Professor Cathie Martin, plant biologist and editor-in-chief of the American monthly journal The Plant Cell, has been made an MBE in recognition of her work.

“Cathie is an inspirational scientist – fearless, but also selfless”, says Professor Anne Osbourn from the John Innes Centre.

“It is a real pleasure to see her contributions to plant science being recognised and celebrated in this way.”

The Plant Cell is the highest ranking international journal for research on plants, sponsored by the American Society of Plant Biologists. She is the first woman and the first non-American to hold this post.

She developed teaching tools to distribute via the journal, designed to help inspire a new generations of plant scientists. Since taking up the role in 2008 she has also opened it up to European and Asian research papers, making it a more international publication.

Professor Martin is an inventor on seven patents and recently co-founded a spin-out company (Norfolk Plant Sciences) with Professor Jonathan Jones FRS, to bring the benefits of plant biotechnology to Europe and the US. Her interests span the entire spectrum of plant biology, from the fundamental right to the applied ends of plant science.

“Cathie is an innovator,” said Professor Dale Sanders, director of The John Innes Centre.

“In the lab she breaks new ground, uncovering the detailed mechanisms of action of natural plant chemicals. These insights might help explain why people who eat more fruits and vegetables have lower rates of cancer and heart disease. But she doesn’t stop there. She wants to make those insights useful to consumers.”

“While public health messages have had little impact on consumer behaviour, if we could generate new varieties of fruits and vegetables with higher levels of beneficial compounds, consumers would get more benefits from the ones they do eat.”

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