Bradshaw And Holzapfel Research Professorship In Transformational Science And Mathematics

In 2007, the Bradshaw and Holzapfel Laboratory was designated as one of ten labs throughout all disciplines PitcherPlant-320X250funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) from Astronomy and Engineering to Nanoscience and Earth Sciences that best meets NSF’s primary mission of transformational discovery. 1

This distinction was very different from the receipt of other awards during our tenure at the University of Oregon, including those from both the Guggenheim and Fulbright foundations. From our perspective, the NSF commendation was an affirmation of the vital role that the University of Oregon plays in the careers of every scientist on campus. In our case, the University has not only provided us with three variable climate rooms, unlike any others in the world, but has vigilantly maintained these facilities with state-of-the-art, computer-driven controls that allow us to program the natural environment of any region of Earth from the tropics to the poles. Therefore, the genetic studies that we complete in these rooms do not suffer from the pervasive flaw: “Is this really the way that genes behave in the natural world?”

Our unique facilities, the culture of science excellence on campus, and continual National Science Foundation funding throughout our long careers have allowed us to make many transformational discoveries incorporating a broad range of disciplines from physics to molecular genetics and mathematics. Example findings include the first determination of the meaning of a “day” in nature using basic principles from the physics of light, publishing the first technical Flora of the Canary Islands, demonstrating that the direct effects of climate change have penetrated to the level of the gene and that the eradication of all mosquito blood-borne diseases world-wide, including malaria, is within reach using cutting edge tools of genomics and bioinformatics.

Although we have had many opportunities to leave the U of O, the support of the University itself, combined with the intellectual contribution of our colleagues, the excellent schools for our daughter, Pilar, who herself chose the U of O over Princeton, Yale, Harvard, and Stanford for her undergraduate training, and the rich cultural diversity of Oregon, made the decision to remain a part of this institution moot.

The awarding of the professorship will be based on merit as evidenced by prior publications in top tier referred journals in the applicant’s respective field and on evidence of future transformational research. Funds from the award PitcherPlant-320X250are intended for scholarly purposes that may include any expenses ordinarily allowable by the University of Oregon, including, but not limited to, support of undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral research.

“Science and Mathematics” is to be construed to mean exclusively the current departments of biology, chemistry, physics, math, and computer science, or their specific successor departments. Should any of these five departments or successor departments cease to exist, the award will be used by the remaining named departments. The awardee must be a tenured professor.

It is our hope in endowing the Professorship that we might help to give other research scientists who are willing to think outside of the trapezoid, the same career opportunities that we have enjoyed at this unique institution.

At the time of full funding, the Bradshaw & Holzapfel gift on which this Endowed Professorship is based will exceed $2,000,000.


1 This lab is one of ten that best meets the mission of NSF for Discovery, to “foster research that will advance the frontiers of knowledge, emphasizing areas of greatest opportunity and potential benefit and establishing the nation as a global leader in fundamental and transformational science and engineering.” (NSF Report of the Advisory Committee for GPRA Performance Assessment FY 2007)

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