2003 Regents' Professor: Vicki Chandler

April 23, 2003
Vicki Chandler. Photo by Margaret Hartshorn,  Biomedical Communications.
Vicki Chandler. Photo by Margaret Hartshorn, Biomedical Communications.

The Arizona Board of Regents has designated University of Arizona molecular biologist and geneticist Vicki Chandler as a Regents' Professor, an honored position reserved for faculty scholars of exceptional ability who has achieved national and international distinction.

She is known for her work in clarifying the mechanisms of gene regulation in maize, contributing to a deeper understanding of the way plants grow, develop and evolve.

Chandler, who was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in April 2002, has been a leader in the field of plant genetics, both in research accomplishment and as a role model to women scientists for 18 years. She is a professor in the department of plant sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and holds a joint appointment in the department of molecular and cellular biology. She is associate director of the Institute for Biomedical Science and Biotechnology at the UA and a member of the Interdisciplinary Program in Genetics.

Chandler has earned significant awards for her scientific achievement. She has authored many scientific publications, often serving as associate editor of leading journals in her field, trained graduate students and postdoctorals, mentored undergraduate researchers, made presentations at universities and scientific meetings around the world, served as an advisor to federal grant agencies, and attracted millions of dollars in funding for her program. In addition, she has served as president of professional societies and as a scientific spokeswoman before congressional committees.

"Dr. Chandler continues to make pioneering contributions to the field of genetics and ranks among the outstanding plant molecular geneticists in the world today," says Robert Leonard, professor and head of the department of plant sciences. "She is also an outstanding teacher and mentor who has had a life-changing impact upon those with whom she interacts. She is a tireless contributor of service activities within the University and to her profession. In all respects she is an outstanding choice for selection as a Regents' Professor."

In her research, Chandler uses methods based on molecular genetics to figure out how genes regulate one another when they communicate in the nucleus of the cell. Her work focuses on the genes that control color expression in kernels of maize. Her findings, which are contributing to a better understanding of plant physiology, development and evolution, also have practical applications in agriculture and in biology.

"A Regents' professorship for Vicki Chandler is very appropriate, as she's already
been recognized internationally as one of the world's foremost plant molecular biologists," says Eugene Sander, vice provost and dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. "We're very fortunate to have her on our campus. Her Regent's professorship is most deserved."

Chandler joins plant sciences colleague Brian Larkins as one of the two current holders of a Regents' professorship in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Contact Vicki Chandler at (520) 626-8725, chandler@ag.arizona.edu,