Noble Foundation Professor Rick Dixon, D. Phil., received the 2012 Groupe Polyphenols (GP) Society Scientific Prize this month. The award recognizes the significant impact of an individual's career in the field of plant biochemistry.
The GP board committee, comprised of scientists from 13 countries, selects a winner based on a candidate's qualifications and experience, including published academic papers and overall impact on the scientific community. "With a diverse group of candidates, we look at all aspects of their careers," said Stephane Quideau, president of Groupe Polyphenols Society. "Dr. Dixon was an obvious choice because of his many contributions to the understanding and application of plant polyphenolic compounds throughout his 35-year career."
Dixon conducts research on plant polyphenols with the main target species being the forage legume alfalfa. His main interest is how plants produce polyphenols (a class of organic chemicals) and how this can be applied to generate improved plants with altered natural product profiles.
"It is quite an honor to receive this long-standing award because there are not many societies in this area of plant biology," Dixon said. "The GP Society is the oldest plant biochemistry society in Europe. It means a lot to receive this recognition from an internationally recognized society with such an extensive history."
As the recipient of this prize, Dixon received an opportunity to speak at the 26th International Conference of Polyphenols (ICP) held this July in Florence, Italy. He will also be writing a chapter in the society's biannual publication, Recent Advances in Polyphenol Research.
Dixon received his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from Oxford University and postdoctoral training at Cambridge University. Oxford University recognized Dixon's research achievements in 2004, and he was elected to membership in the United States National Academy of Sciences in 2007. He also holds an adjunct professorship at Rice University.
Dixon joined the Noble Foundation in 1988 when he began as director and professor for the then-newly formed Plant Biology Division, responsible for the division's overall research vision and implementation. He currently serves as senior vice president and director. In 2011, the Noble Foundation recognized Dixon's contributions to science by appointing him to the position of Distinguished Professor and Samuel Roberts Noble Research Chair.