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SDSU faculty member among ‘25 Inspiring Women in Plant Biology’

Anne Fennell

Anne Fennell, a distinguished professor in South Dakota State University's Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science, has been named one of 25 inspiring women in the field of 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 associate dean for research for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. "Her work has profoundly impacted our understanding of plant science, and her commitment to her field and students is truly impressive. Dr. Fennell’s contributions continue to inspire and shape the future of plant biology."

Recognition by the American Society of Plant Biologists community highlights an individual’s achievement, leadership and impact in plant biology.

“(Anne) Fennell is a scientist who works for fun and wants her work to make a difference to the farmers as well as academia," said David Wright, the Klingbeil Endowed Head of the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science. "She is dedicated to improving the productivity of grapevine and the quality of the wine that is ultimately consumed.”

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

"Grapevine and perennial plant biology is my passion, coupled with mentoring new scientists and early career faculty," Fennell said.

Throughout her time at SDSU, Fennell has mentored countless future plant biologists by providing a unique and diverse lab experience for all her students, from undergraduates to postdocs. Graduates from her lab have majored in physiology, genetics, genomics and big data and have moved 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 grapevine root stocks around the world.