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SDSU Faculty Member Among ’25 Inspiring Women in Plant Biology’

Anne Fennell

Anne Fennell, a distinguished professor in the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Sciences at South Dakota State University, has been named one of 25 Inspirational Women in Plant Biology by the American Society of Plant Biologists.

“Dr. Fennell’s recognition as one of the top 25 women in her field of plant biology is a testament to her groundbreaking research and unwavering dedication,” said John Blanton Jr., director of SDSU’s Agricultural Experiment Station and the dean for research for the College of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Sciences. “Her work has had a profound impact on our understanding of plant science, and her dedication to her field and students is truly impressive. Dr. Fennell’s contributions continue to inspire and shape the future of plant biology.”

Community recognition from the American Society of Plant Biologists highlights an individual’s achievements, leadership and impact in the field of plant biology.

“(Anne) Fennell is a scientist who works for fun and wants her work to make a difference to both farmers and academia,” said David Wright, the Klingbeil Endowed Head of the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Sciences. is committed to improving the productivity of the vine and the quality of the wine that is ultimately consumed.”

Fennell has been at SDSU since 1992 and became a distinguished professor in 2020. Her research has primarily focused on the genetic, physiological and phenotypic aspects of grapevine dormancy. Dormancy in perennial plant systems is an integral part of the growth cycle, productivity and winter survival. Her research is critical to identifying genes and genetic architecture that influence the sustainable production of grapevines and other perennial systems in changing northern temperate environments.

“Grape and perennial plant biology is my passion, coupled with mentoring new scientists and educators as they begin their careers,” Fennell said.

During her time at SDSU, Fennell has mentored countless future plant biologists by providing all of her students, from undergraduates to postdocs, with a unique and varied laboratory experience. Graduates from her laboratory have majored in physiology, genetics, genomics and big data and have gone on to careers in both private industry and higher education.

Fennell’s research has had a significant impact on the global grapevine research community, particularly her work on Vitis riparia Michx – a North American species used in grape rhizomes around the world.

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