Stanford University plant biologist Sharon R. Long is the only woman on the team of science advisors assembled by Barak Obama in September. Long's lab studies the symbiotic interaction of Rhizobium bacteria and alfalfa roots to form nodules. Root nodules are able to take nitrogen from the air to form ammonia, which is used by plants to synthesize amino acids, nucleotides and other cellular components. This ability allows the plants to grow with less nitrogen fertilizer than required by other crops, making the process of great interest to the agricultural industry. There has, in fact, been some criticism of Obama's choice of Long because of her ties to the agricultural biotech company Monsanto, on whose board of directors she served until last fall.
Long was interviewed about science under the Obama administration by Steve Mirsky for the Scientific American Science Talk podcast. Listen to the interview.
More information about Long:
- Monya Baker of "The Niche" (Nature's stem cell blog) on Long's talk at the annual gathering of science writers in Palo Alto last month.
- Dean of the Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences, 2001-2007
- Monsanto Board of Directors, 2002-2007
- MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship in 1992
- Elected National Academy of Science Member
- Current member of the National Academy of Science governing Council