MANHATTAN, KANSAS -- The American Association for the Advancement of Science is honoring Vara Prasad, Kansas State University distinguished professor of agronomy, as one of its 2016 fellows.
Prasad is among 391 fellows chosen this year and was selected for his distinguished contributions to the field of abiotic stress physiology, particularly for understanding responses of food grain crops to high temperature stress.
"I am very pleased and humbled by this recognition," Prasad said. "I am thankful to all my students and scholars who contributed to innovative research; my colleagues, staff and administrators at Kansas State University for their continuous support; my mentors for their guidance; and my family members for their constant encouragement."
The American Association for the Advancement of Science, or AAAS, is the world's largest scientific society. The association's fellowship program recognizes individuals whose efforts toward advancing science applications are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.
Prasad's selection follows a vote by peers in the association. This year's fellows were formally announced in the AAAS News and Notes section of the journal Science on Nov. 25. Prasad will be recognized at a certificate and pinning ceremony at the association's annual meeting Feb. 18, 2017, in Boston.
Prasad joins 24 current and emeritus Kansas State University faculty members who are fellows of the association.
"This is an important recognition by one of the leading professional scientific societies," said Peter Dorhout, the university's vice president of research. "Dr. Prasad had been involved in research here that will shed light on how the changing climate conditions affect our ability to grow crops, which impacts our largest industry in Kansas and the Midwest."
Prasad is the director of the university's Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development.
Prasad's research focuses on understanding responses of food grain crops to climate change factors and developing crop, water and soil management strategies for efficient use of inputs and to improve crop yields. He has quantified the influence of high temperature stress on various physiological and yield processes of several grain crops, improved our understanding of physiological and biochemical mechanisms associated with high temperature tolerance, and screened germplasm collection and identified genotypes tolerant to high temperature stress in various food grain crops. He has active research and capacity building programs in several countries in Asia and Africa that are focused on providing food and nutritional security to smallholder farmers.
A Kansas State University faculty member since 2005, Prasad has received $62 million in grant funding to support research, education and extension activities from local, national and international agencies. He has published more than 150 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters and his research has been cited 5,130 times. He has mentored and trained more than 100 research scholars and graduate students.
He has received several noteworthy awards for his research, teaching and service activities, including International Educator of the Year, the Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award, the Commerce Bank and W.T. Kemper Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award, and the Dr. Ron and Rae Iman Outstanding Faculty Award from Kansas State University, as well as the Early Career and Outstanding Research Award from Gamma Sigma Delta. He is a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America.
Prasad earned his bachelor's degree in 1991 and his master's degree in 1993 from Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University in India. He earned his doctorate from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom in 1999.