John McKay elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

John mckay with plants

John McKay, professor in the Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management at CSU. 

John McKay, a professor in the Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management at Colorado State University, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed on members by their peers.

McKay joins 442 other members awarded this year, for their “scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications,” according to the organization. McKay is being honored by the AAAS Section on Agriculture, Food and Renewable Resources for “distinguished contributions using ecophysiology, genetics and genomics to understand the fundamental mechanisms which have driven the evolution of phenotypes in natural populations and cultivated species.”

McKay is a plant scientist who studies the ecology, evolution and genetics of local adaptation in natural plant populations. He leads a research program seeking to understand traits and genes in plants that confer adaptation to specific environments, such as drought stress. His research serves applications like crop breeding, conservation and invasive species management, as well as to answer fundamental ecology and evoution questions.

Among his recent research endeavors is a Department of Energy-funded effort to test corn root systems in agricultural fields to determine important variations in traits, including ideal root systems for maximizing water- and nutrient-use efficiency. The $6.1 million Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy project could lead to production of crops with increased carbon uptake in soil; help remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; and improve agricultural productivity. McKay’s research expansion from model genetic systems to maize was facilitated by funding from Colorado Corn Growers and Iowa Corn.

About AAAS Fellows

New Fellows will be recognized Feb. 15 during the 2020 AAAS Annual Meeting in Seattle.

The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the association’s 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members (so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee’s institution), or by the AAAS chief executive officer. Fellows must have been continuous members of AAAS for four years by the end of the calendar year in which they are elected. The AAAS Fellow honor comes with an expectation that recipients maintain the highest standards of professional ethics and scientific integrity.

Other CSU faculty who have been named AAAS Fellows in the last four years: Temple Grandin, Richard H. Johnson, Michael Antolin, Jill Baron and Carmen Menoni.