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K-State Today

November 18, 2014



The Hageman Distinguished Lectureship series to present Elliot Meyerowitz

By Melinda Bainter

Image of Dr. Elliot Meyerowitz

Elliot Meyerowitz, George Beadle professor of biology at the California Institute of Technology, will present the Richard H. and Elizabeth C. Hageman Distinguished Lectureship in Agricultural Chemistry, "Physical as well as Chemical Signals Control Plant Development," at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19, in McVay Family Town Hall, 114 Leadership Studies Building.

A colloquium, "Computational morphodynamics: an approach to the study of plant growth and development," also presented by Meyerowitz, will follow at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, in the Johnson Cancer Research Center, 36 Chalmers Hall.

Both events are part of the Richard H. and Elizabeth C. Hageman Distinguished Lectureship in Agricultural Chemistry series sponsored by the biochemistry and molecular biophysics department. The lecture and colloquium are free and the public is welcome.

Meyerowitz's research has been focused on understanding patterns and connections. His dissertation focused on ways in which the optic lobe and the eye of drosophila make essential neuronal connections. Using this knowledge he researched how flowers form. Using the "simple" ABC model was a major advance made in the Meyerowitz lab. Over the past decade he has directed his attention to broad issues in plant development, using computational and modeling techniques to understand ways that complex organisms grow and develop. Specifically, his group is intensively studying how plants respond to physical forces, whether internal, such as turgor pressure, or external. Hence the title of this year’s Hageman lecture.

The Richard H. and Elizabeth C. Hageman Distinguished Lectureship in Agricultural Chemistry is made possible by the generous endowment provided by the Hagemans. Professor Hageman was recognized for "his formulation that rate-limiting enzymes could be identified and used as a basis to select for specific traits, which lead to higher crop yields. This singular focus, which resulted from and contributed to his research on nitrate reductase, is so basic and now so readily understood that it is taken for granted in all of plant science." His major contributions to understanding of plant nitrogen metabolism included the finding that nitrate reductase is an inducible enzyme, and identification of nitrite reductase as a distinct enzyme dependent on ferredoxin in chloroplasts.