NDSU Specialist Honored For Bean Research

Rian Lee, research specialist in bean genetics and molecular genetics, received the Technical Merit Award presented by the Bean Improvement Cooperative. Lee is the third person to receive the award.

The award recognizes outstanding and long-standing contributions made to bean research, extension and education by bean program support personnel. Nominees must have a minimum of 10 years of service as a bean program technician and meet specific research and publication criteria. The award is scheduled to be presented during the cooperative’s biennial meeting in October.

Lee earned his bachelor’s degree in biotechnology at NDSU and has worked 18 years in the bean genetics and molecular genetics research group directed by professor Phillip McClean.

Lee has made significant contributions to numerous research projects over the years, working with bean breeders and geneticists, leading the technical aspects of projects, and providing bioinformatics support for common bean. Most notably, he was part of the discovery of the Crg locus for Ur-3-mediated rust resistance with Venu Kalavacharla of Delaware State University and McClean. Lee also provided technical skills and leadership for the BeanCAP project and provided the DNA and RNA source materials used for the Phaseolus genome sequencing project. He was the first to assemble bean EST sequences into CDS sequences that formed the basis for gene calling during the reference genome sequencing project. As a result of his research contributions, Lee has been a co-author on 20 manuscripts from McClean’s group as well as research groups around the world.

“Rian’s contributions to bean research go beyond NDSU,” said McClean. “He has and will continue to impact bean genetics and improvement throughout the world.”

The Bean Improvement Cooperative encourages the exchange of information and materials for the improvement of bean production worldwide.

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