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In 2017, professor Arntzen retired from Arizona State University. He was appointed the Florence Ely Nelson Presidential Endowed Chair at ASU in 2000, and the Founding Director of Biodesign Institute in 2001. He was awarded a Regent's Professorship in 2004. Previously, he served as President and CEO of Boyce Thompson Institute, a not-for-profit corporation affiliated with Cornell University. He served as director of the Michigan State University/Dept. of Energy Plant Research Laboratory, director of Research at the Dupont Company, and deputy chancellor for Agriculture in the Texas A&M University System.
Arntzen was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1983, and the National Academy of Inventors in 2015. He received the USDA Award for Superior Service, and served as chairman of the National Biotechnology Policy Board of the National Institutes of Health. From 2001-09, he served as a member of President George W. Bush’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology. He was awarded honorary doctorates from the University of Minnesota, Purdue University, and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
His research interests are in plant molecular biology and protein engineering, and in using plant biotechnology to enhance food quality and value, to express pharmacologically active products in plants, and to overcome health and agricultural constraints in the developing world. He is a pioneer in the development of plant-based vaccines for human disease prevention (with special emphasis on needs of poor countries) and disease prevention in animal agriculture. After 2001, this research was extended to the creation of effective vaccines and therapeutics to reduce the threats of biowarfare agents.
Arntzen served on Boards of Directors, including DeKalb Genetics, and currently serves on that of Advanced BioNutrition, Inc. Fast Magazine chose him as the "Most Creative Person in Business" in 2015 for his work on fighting Ebola with tobacco.
1979 Charles Albert Shull Award for Outstanding Research in Plant Physiology
1980 Award for Superior Service, US Department of Agriculture
1980 Award of Excellence, Weed Science Society of America
1983 Elected Member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA
1984 Elected Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, India
1985 Elected President, American Society of Plant Physiologists
1990-1997 Member, Board of Governors of the University of Chicago for Argonne National Laboratory. Member Executive Comm.; Chair of Scientific/Technical Advisory Board
1991-1993 Member and Chairman, NIH Biotechnology Policy Board
1991-1998 SCIENCE, Editorial Board Member
1994 Dennis Robert Hoagland Award, American Association of Plant Physiologists
1994 Elected Fellow, AAAS
1997 Doctor of Science honoris causa., Purdue University, School of Science
2001-2009 President George W. Bushs Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and Presidential appointee to the National Nanotechnology Advisory Board (in 2004)
2003 Doctor of Science honoris causa., University of Minnesota
2004 American Society of Plant Biology Leadership in Science Public Service Award
2006 Botanical Society of America Centennial Award
2007 Elected Fellow of American Society of Plant Biologists
2008 Doctor of Science honoris causa., Hebrew University of Jerusalem
2009 USDA Sterling Hendricks Memorial Lecturer for 2009
2011-2012 Chair, Section O "Agriculture, Food, and Renewable Resources", American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
2015 Award by Fast Magazine for The Most Creative Person in Business in 2015
2015 Elected Member, National Academy of Inventors, USA