Two Iowa State University Professors Receive Kolmer Applied Research Award

September 13th, 2017

AMES, Iowa — Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences presented applied research awards on Sept. 12 to two professors.

Matt Helmers, an agricultural and biosystems engineering professor who holds the Dean’s Professorship in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Basil Nikolau, a professor in biochemistry, biophysics, and molecular biology and director of the Center for Metobolic Biology, received the Dean Lee R. Kolmer Award for Excellence in Applied Research at the college’s fall convocation.

The award is named for a former college dean and honors faculty or staff who have made significant contributions to improving the welfare of Iowans by the application of their research.

Helmers is nationally recognized for his research on cropping system management and field drainage. He’s a member of the science assessment team and leader of the nitrate team for the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which strives to improve agricultural productivity and water quality. His accomplishments in science, teaching and obtaining research funding have benefited the state of Iowa.

Helmers began his career at Iowa State in 2003. He received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Iowa State in 1995, his master’s degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in civil engineering in 1997 and his doctorate degree in agricultural and biological systems engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2003.

Nikolau also serves as the director of the W.M. Keck Metobolomics Research Laboratory and deputy director of the NSF-funded Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals. He is recognized as an expert in plant metabolic biology, nationally and internationally.

Nikolau is known for securing research funds and working collaboratively to solve societal issues. During the past 27 years he’s mentored 30 graduate students who have pursued research-based careers in academia and private industry.

Nikolau began his career at Iowa State in 1988. He received his bachelor’s in 1977 and doctorate degree in 1982 from Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand.


Matt Helmers, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, 515-294-6717,
Basil Nikolau, Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology, 515-294-9423,
Barb McBreen, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service, 515-294-0707,