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K-State's Subbaratnam Muthukrishnan and Barbara Valent Named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
Date:10/25/2007

MANHATTAN, Kan., Oct. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Two more Kansas State University faculty have been designated fellows by the world's largest general scientific society.

Subbaratnam Muthukrishnan, university distinguished professor of biochemistry, and Barbara Valent, university distinguished professor of plant pathology, have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. They and the other 469 fellows will be announced in the Oct. 26 issue of the journal Science and will receive a certificate and pin at the association's annual meeting in February 2008 in Boston.

K-State now has 15 fellows of the association, representing the fields of biology, chemical engineering, plant pathology, biochemistry, grain sciences and industry, geography, agronomy and physics.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science named Muthukrishnan a fellow for his contributions to plant and insect molecular biology, particularly for studies on plant pathogenesis proteins and insect chitin metabolism. His laboratories examine the organization and functions of genes involved in the synthesis and turnover of the chitin in the exoskeleton of the red flour beetle. Muthukrishnan holds a patent on the use of a chitinase-based biopesticide, and he and his collaborators have developed varieties of crop plants and other plants more resistant to pests and disease.

Muthukrishnan and his associates at K-State have cloned several genes involved in plant defenses against fungal pathogens and insect pests, scoring several firsts in plant and insect gene cloning. In 2005 Muthukrishnan was part of a K-State research team that identified several enzymes involved in the synthesis, turnover and hardening of a beetle's exoskeleton. The discovery could not only lead to better pest control, but it also could help create similar strong, li
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