College of Agriculture and Life Sciences names Carolyn Lawrence-Dill associate dean for research and discovery

Headshot of Carolyn Lawrence-Dill
Carolyn Lawrence-Dill.  

AMES, Iowa - Carolyn Lawrence-Dill has been named associate dean for research and discovery for Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, effective Aug. 16, 2021.

Lawrence-Dill has been a faculty member at Iowa State since 2014. She is a professor in the Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology and the Department of Agronomy, and a faculty scholar with the university’s Plant Sciences Institute.

In her new role, Lawrence-Dill will provide the dean, department chairs and other unit directors with strategic guidance and counsel on opportunities and challenges related to the effective and compliant conduct of the research enterprise of the college. Working in collaboration with the dean and other associate deans, she will ensure operations directly advance the college’s mission, and that resources are deployed wisely and efficiently.

"On behalf of the college, I am thrilled to have Dr. Carolyn Lawrence-Dill join the leadership team and help us advance every aspect of our research enterprise,” said Daniel J. Robison, holder of the endowed dean’s chair in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “She brings to us great skill as a scientist and committed, engaged faculty member, and she has shown terrific energy in research excellence, funding, collaboration and impact. Carolyn will be a great partner to us all and will continue the tradition of service and excellence set by Joe Colletti. My great thanks to Dr. Kendall Lamkey and the search committee for terrific work!"

Lawrence-Dill holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. She earned her master’s degree in biology from Texas Tech University in Lubbock and a Ph.D. in plant evolutionary biology/botany at the University of Georgia, Athens. She first came to Iowa State for a two-year postdoctoral associate in bioinformatics position. Before returning as a faculty member, she was a National Science Foundation Research Fellow at the University of Georgia and spent a decade with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, serving as lead scientist for its Maize Genetics and Genomics Database project.

As a research leader or co-investigator, she has been responsible for bringing in more than $31 million in grants and project awards over seven years at Iowa State. Her main areas of research involve deploying team science approaches for data representation, accessibility and integration in the plant sciences with a focus on the prediction and analysis of gene functions, phenotypes and traits in crops. She also maintains research projects that focus on gene regulation and gene editing techniques. She is one of seven investigators leading the national Agricultural Genome to Phenome Initiative, a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture-funded effort guiding the spending of $40 million authorized for genome to phenome research by Congress.

Lawrence-Dill currently represents the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station with the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities Experiment Station Section and North Central Regional Association of Experiment Station Directors. She was recently honored with a YWCA Women of Achievement Award for eliminating racism and empowering women based on conduct in research, personnel management and building community.

“I am very excited to welcome Carolyn Lawrence-Dill as our associate dean of research and discovery,” said Kendall Lamkey, professor and chair of the Department of Agronomy, who led the search committee for the associate dean position. “Carolyn has been an outstanding faculty member, and I am confident she will make an outstanding associate dean. I want to thank and commend the search committee for their time and input into this process.”

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University is one of the world’s leading institutions of agriculture, with more than 160 years of leadership in science, education and extension. The college has 284 tenured and tenure eligible faculty and 433 professional and scientific staff in 15 departments, eight of which are co-administered with another college. CALS departments are home to 580 graduate students, representing 13% of the university's graduate student body. CALS ranks among the top of 60 national agricultural colleges for the number of faculty with findings published in scientific journals and for the number of faculty with federal grants. Over the past five years, CALS-supported scientists have brought in an average of about $55 million annually in sponsored funding.