UF/IFAS eminent scholar elected to National Academy of Sciences
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Crop genetics expert Harry Klee, an eminent scholar and professor in the University of Florida horticultural sciences department, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences Tuesday for his research achievements.
He was one of 84 new members announced at the organization’s 149th annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Election to NAS is one of the highest honors given to a scientist or engineer in the U.S., and members are elected by current members for outstanding achievements in their fields. Klee will be formally inducted next April.
Klee, a faculty member with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is part of the interdisciplinary, plant molecular and cellular biology program at UF and has recently been studying flavor quality in fruits and vegetables to understand the chemical and genetic makeup of flavor. He is the Lyle C. Dickman Eminent Scholar Chair in Plant Improvement and has a research emphasis on tomatoes; however, Klee has also studied melons, strawberries and lettuce.
“This is one of the top honors any scientist can receive,” said Jack Payne, UF senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “It is also terrific recognition for the University of Florida and highlights the importance of Florida agriculture and the world-class research we are doing at IFAS.”
A member of the UF faculty since 1995, Klee previously worked for Monsanto. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1974 and a doctoral degree in biochemistry in 1980, both from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Klee said he is proud to become a member of NAS.
“I feel honored and humbled to be elected by my peers to an organization that has such a history of brilliant minds,” Klee said.
NAS now has 2,152 active members, including 14 from UF.
The academy is a private, nonprofit honorific society of distinguished scholars who are engaged in scientific and engineering research and are dedicated to furthering the use of science and technology for the benefit of society.
Established in 1863, the academy serves to “investigate, examine, experiment, and report upon any subject of science or art” when asked to do so by any department of the government.
Renowned members are Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Thomas Edison, Orville Wright and Alexander Graham Bell. Nearly 200 living academy members have won Nobel Prizes.