UTIA Plant Scientist Elected to Rank of AAAS Fellow

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Carl Sams Achieves One of the Highest Honors in Science

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Carl Sams, Institute Professor within the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and Austin Distinguished professor in the UT Department of Plant Sciences, is among the 2021 Class of Fellows in American Association for the Advancement of Science. The newly elected Fellows were announced January 26 in advance of the AAAS annual meeting.

Each year, the Council of the AAAS elects members whose “efforts on behalf of the advancement of science, or its applications, are scientifically or socially distinguished.” The Council elects Fellows deliberately and carefully to preserve the honor attached to this recognition. AAAS Fellows are a distinguished cadre of scientists, engineers and innovators. Sams has been recognized for distinguished contributions to horticulture and plant physiology.

Sams has been with UTIA 37 years and is the Austin Distinguished Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences. He has also earned the grade of Fellow with the American Society of Horticultural Sciences. His research focuses on disease resistance in plants, hydroponics and mineral nutrition. His work also includes grafting plant varieties, as well as environmental factors important to human nutrition, pest resistance and greenhouse production.

Sams’ many accomplishments and accolades include, being named a 2020 UTIA Institute Professor. The Institute Professor Award is the highest honor presented at UTIA. At that time he said, “During my career, I have been blessed by associations with exceptional colleagues and students with whom I share a passion for research, teaching and outreach,” Sams says. ”I tell my students our goal is to help farmers feed and clothe our grandchildren while preserving natural resources for our great grandchildren and beyond. UTIA has made it possible for me to pursue that goal in the midst of creative and hard-working people at every level within the institute. I am humbled and appreciative to have been awarded this honor.”

Among his recent work, Sams is among the campus leaders in a project known as the “Fresh Electric Farm,” where kale is grown under LED lights for increased nutritional value. Sams also researches the use of botanical oils as pesticides and growth regulators, work that has become a commercial success. He is a success in the classroom as well, guiding undergraduate and graduate students as well as advising high school students who are science fair winners. He has also been honored with the UT AgResearch Impact Award and B. Ray Thompson Award.

The complete list of 2021 AAAS Fellows is available at the AAAS website. Sams’ institutional colleague Dr. David Anderson, professor and associate dean for research and graduate studies at the UT of Veterinary Medicine (UTCVM) is also among the 2021 Class of AAAS Fellows.

Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu.

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