Birchler is the latest in a long line of influential maize researchers at the University of Missouri, where he has been a faculty member since 1991. He holds a bachelor's degree from Eastern Illinois University and a doctoral degree from Indiana University. Prior to coming to MU, Birchler was an associate professor at Harvard University and a researcher at the University of California-Berkeley and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
"Jim is the first NAS member to ever come from the College of Arts and Science, and I couldn't be more proud of the fact that he was the one who opened that door," said Michael O'Brien, dean of the College of Arts and Science. "He's a fantastic role model for all of us who are engaged in research."
Birchler is well-known for his research on corn genomics, and has authored dozens of peer-reviewed articles. Since 1994, he has served as associate editor of the journal Genetics. He also is co-editor of The Plant Cell and the Maize Genetics Cooperation Newsletter and serves on the editorial board of nine other publications.
The National Academy of Sciences is not the first organization to recognize Birchler. In 2002, he was elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2007, Northeast Normal University of China gave Birchler the Award for Excellence in Academic Achievements. In addition, Birchler has been recognized for his teaching ability. He has received campus teaching awards from Zeta Tau Alpha sorority and the MU Panhellenic Council. Birchler regularly mentors students graduating with honors.
Birchler has lectured on plant genomics around the world. He has spoken to the Genetics Society of Canada, the International Soci
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University of Missouri-Columbia