Three Scientists Introduced into ARS Hall of
By Jim De
September 17, 1999
BELTSVILLE, Md., Sept. 17--The development of industrial polymers, the
pioneering of molecular markers, and research in avian tumor virus have earned
three Agricultural Research Service
scientists a place in the agencys Science Hall of Fame. ARS is the chief
research agency of the U.S. Department of
Dr. Charles Stuber, Dr. Richard Witter and the family of Dr. Allene Jeanes
will be presented with plaques citing the scientists achievements. An
induction dinner ceremony is scheduled for Sept. 22 at the
Arboretum in Washington, D.C.
These three scientists have made tremendous contributions to
agricultural research during their careers. We welcome them into the Hall of
Fame, said ARS Administrator Floyd Horn.
Since 1986, the ARS Hall of Fame program has recognized agency researchers
for outstanding career achievements in agricultural science. Those inducted are
nominated by their peers for making major contributions to agricultural
research. The scientists must be retired or eligible to retire to receive the
Jeanes, who joined USDA in 1941 at what is now the ARS
National Center for Agricultural
Utilization Research in Peoria, Ill., devoted more than 35 years of service
to USDA before retiring from ARS in 1976. During her lifetime, she received
four other awards from ARS for her numerous research accomplishments. She was
the first woman to be awarded USDAs highest civilian award, the
Distinguished Service Award, in 1953.
She began her research studying the basic structure of starch, which led to
a focus on dextran, a polysaccharide made from sucrose and produced by
microbes. Her work resulted in a blood plasma substitute that saved many lives.
Jeanes and her team also created one of the most widely used water-soluble
thickening agents, xanthan gum, which is still used by the food and
pharmaceutical industries. It is also used by heavy-industry companies such as
those in oil and gas manufacturing. Jeanes died on Dec. 15, 1995.
Stuber, who joined ARS in 1962, served as supervisory research geneticist
and research leader for the USDA-ARS
Research Unit in Raleigh, N.C. During his nearly 36 years with ARS, Stuber
made numerous significant research advances in plant breeding. Stuber has
received several awards, including being named the agencys Outstanding
Scientist of the Year in 1989. Although Stuber officially retired in January
1998, he still serves as a collaborator on several research projects that were
in progress at the time of his retirement.
Stuber will be recognized for creating methods for using molecular markers
to identify and map the major genes responsible for the expression of
economically important traits in plants. Stubers research led the plant
breeding industry to revolutionize crop breeding procedures and influenced
animal breeding technology.
Witter, a veterinary medical officer at the
Avian Disease and Oncology
Laboratory in East Lansing, Mich., has studied chicken and turkey diseases
for nearly 40 years. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including
USDAs Distinguished Service Award. His research and leadership, including
23 years as lab director, have made the East Lansing lab one of the most
important scientific resources for the poultry industry worldwide.
Witter has developed vaccines and other controls against two major chicken
viruses, Mareks disease and avian leukosis. One of Witters most
significant accomplishments was the discovery the cause of Mareks
disease, a herpesvirus that causes infectious T- cell lymphomas in chickens.
This discovery led Witter and his team to develop the first U.S. vaccine
against Mareks disease in 1970. This vaccine and subsequent improved
vaccines developed by Witters group and others continue to be used
worldwide, saving the poultry industry more than $100 million per year.
Permanent copies of the plaques presented to the scientists will be on
display at ARSs National
Visitor Center in Beltsville, Md.