Iowa State University Researcher Receives Rossmann Manatt Faculty Development Award

Steve Whitham is an Iowa State University plant pathology and microbiology professor.

Ames, Iowa – The 2019 Rossmann Manatt Faculty Development Award has been presented to Steve Whitham, an Iowa State University plant pathology and microbiology professor. 

Whitham is a co-leader in the development of the Enviratron system, which is a robotic facility being built at Iowa State for phenotyping plants. He is a scientist with an international reputation for conducting cutting-edge research on the interactions between plant pathogens and their hosts. His research has advanced the knowledge of soybean defense genes, gene functions in plants and plant responses to viral and fungal infection. 

The award includes a monetary gift that can range from $5,000 to $10,000 depending on the endowment’s standing. Whitham plans to use the funds to develop new areas of research that include novel ways to phenotype plants and specifically edit plant genes for crop improvement. He plans to fund the cost of a graduate student to conduct experiments in the Enviratron, and fund the cost of professional meetings for the student. 

Whitham came to Iowa State in 2000 after receiving his doctorate in 1995 and master’s degree in 1992 in plant pathology from the University of California, Berkeley. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1990 in agricultural biochemistry at Iowa State.

The Rossmann Manatt Award recognizes a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences or College of Human Sciences tenured faculty member who has demonstrated an exceptional level of creativity and productivity in scholarship, teaching and service, and who shows great promise of continuing those achievements.