College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty Joshua Rosenbloom and Yanhai Yin were among three Iowa State University researchers the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) recently named to its 2022 class of Fellows. ISU’s third AAAS Fellow for 2022, Aaron Sadow, is a professor of chemistry and a senior scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames National Laboratory. They are among the new cohort of 505 individuals recognized this year for scientific and socially notable career achievements.
Professor Joshua Rosenbloom, chair of the Department of Economics, was recognized for “distinguished contributions to the study of the development of the American economy and the economics of science, technology and innovation.”
A recent focus for Rosenbloom has been the influence of different funding sources on the nation’s scientific enterprise, including the productivity of academic scientists. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), he is examining the impact of state budget cuts on university research capacity with collaborator Donna Ginther, the University of Kansas. A second theme of his research is the historical development of the American economy. His paper “Wealth mobility in the United States: 1860–1870,” co-authored with Brandon Dupont, of Western Washington University, was published in November 2022, in the journal Social Science History.
Rosenbloom came to Iowa State to take the department chair role in August 2015. Before that, he was a faculty member in the Department of Economics at the University of Kansas. During his tenure there, he served six years as associate vice chancellor for research and graduate studies and interim dean of graduate studies.
Rosenbloom is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a fellow of the Cliometric Society. He has served as a program director for NSF’s Science of Science and Innovation Policy (SciSIP) Program. He has a doctorate in economics from Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, and a bachelor’s in history from Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio.
Rosenbloom credits several important professional mentors for a career journey that has included history, economics and administration. He said his experiences in academic administration have been “eye-opening” and contributed to his recent research interest in the effects of funding on scientific productivity. “In many respects,” he says, “administrative positions are scholarship by other means -- facilitating the academic careers of others.”
Rosenbloom is also working on a new textbook tracing the economic development of the American economy that attempts “to integrate all the things we know now about the influences on economic history.”
“History is the interpretation of facts,” Rosenbloom said. “While the facts don’t change, the questions we ask about them do change as thinking shifts over time on important issues such as race, gender and the environment. The story we tell about the origins of the modern economy requires shifting away from a focus solely on the enormous growth of the American economy to include issues of who benefits from this growth and what the consequences are.”
The AAAS recognized Yanhai Yin, professor and chair of the Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology, as a Fellow for his “distinguished contributions to the field of plant signaling transduction, particularly for discovering the transcriptional mechanisms and network for the plant steroid hormone brassinosteroid in regulating plant growth and stress responses."
In Yin’s words, his research focuses on the molecular mechanisms and gene regulatory networks through which brassinosteroid regulates plant growth and responses. An important aim of his work is to improve crop production under adverse conditions, often caused by climate change.
He joined ISU as an assistant professor in 2004, was promoted to full professor in 2015 and selected to chair his department in 2018. He has been an Iowa State Plant Sciences Institute (PSI) Faculty Scholar since 2015. A National Science Foundation Career Award helped support his work from 2006-2012. His research, documented in dozens of publications in scientific journals, has primarily been supported by the NSF, the National Institutes of Health and the PSI.
Yin received his doctorate in macromolecular and cellular structure and chemistry from the Scripps Research Institute in 1997, after his postdoctoral training at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, both of which he completed in San Diego, California. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Sichuan University, Chengdu, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, respectively.
Yin grew up as a farm boy on a subsistence farm in a remote area of China and says his mother has been the biggest influence on his life. “She raised five children and taught us to work hard and to care about and try to help others.” He also credits mentors at every educational level, including colleagues and outstanding students, for their support and inspiration.
Yin said an accomplishment that he has been most proud of has been receiving the Interdepartmental Genetics Graduate Program Teaching Excellence Award twice, in 2011-2012 and 2007-2008.
“I try to inspire my students,” Yin said. “My most important messages to them are, first, that the biggest goal for one’s career life should be to make the world better, and second, to be persistent. If you focus on something for a long time, you’ll achieve something important and special."
The AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the prestigious journal Science and other scientific publications. The AAAS has been honoring “esteemed innovators” since 1874.