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This award recognizes a faculty member for superior academic performance, professional renown, and service to the University and to the public. Dr. Spatafora's research is focused on molecular systematics and population genetics of fungi, and he has distinguished himself in the following categories that are recognized by this honor:

  • exceptional scholarly achievements and publications

He has established a research program that is at the forefront of modern investigations of the molecular systematics and evolution of several fungal groups, establishing him as one of the very few worldwide leaders in this area. His most significant achievements include:

a main investigator in the Deep Hypha Research Coordination Network (RCN), and of the Assembling the Fungal Tree of Life (AFTOL) project, both large scale collaborative research projects that have has resulted in a detailed understanding of fungal evolutionary relationships and in the modern phylogenetic classification of Fungi.

a part of the team that developed an Electronic Monograph of Cordyceps (http://cordyceps.us).

continued work in ectomycorrhizal fungi and part of the H.J. Andrews Microbial Observatory with fellow OSU scientists.

collaboration with the Joint Genome Institute of the Department of Energy, he and his colleagues are organizing an interdisciplinary group of fungal biologists to sequence 1000 fungal genomes distributed across the Fungi.

  • teaching ability, reputation, and quality

He is an outstanding classroom teacher and leader in curriculum development and instructional innovation. Recognized with numerous teaching awards, students regard his teaching as providing a compelling learning experience. Notably he is:

a caring and effective mentor of students at all levels of development. Undergraduate students are encouraged to gain research experience in his laboratory. He attracts outstanding national and international graduate students. Overall he has created an exciting and dynamic environment for undergraduate and graduate education in mycology at Oregon State University.

curator of the OSU Mycological Collection, which contains approximately 100,000 specimens of fungi and lichens, and during his tenure has succeeded in significantly enhancing the size, visibility, and utility of the Collection.

  • participation in University affairs

From curating the mycological collection (see above) to active participation in University affairs, he has distinguished himself as a charismatic leader, mentor, and educator:

he has served as Associate Chair of the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, as well as serving on numerous departmental and university committees. Currently he serves as the Faculty Athletic Representative for OSU, responsible for working with FAR members from other Pac10 colleges.

  • visibility and recognition in Oregon, the U.S., and the world

Dr. Spatafora is a worldwide authority, and one of the most visible mycologists in the world:

a natural leader of large, multidisciplinary research projects.

holds numerous awards recognizing his scholarship, most recently being elected Fellow of the Mycological Society of America.

his research program is well funded and supported by highly competitive grants generating refereed publications and invited papers and presentations, including at international meetings.

service on various grant panels. He also serves as senior editor of Fungal Biology, and is currently President of the Mycological Society of America.