Our Research Impact

As purpose-driven pioneers, CALS scientists observe the world through a unique lens  unraveling complex challenges through artful inquiry and methodical exploration.

Fundamental to applied, this is research for the real world. This is research that matters. These are research firsts that have lasting impact.

From rural communities to the royal family, our researchers get recognized for their life-changing work. Discover why.

By the Way

His apple-related fame landed him on a “Jeopardy!” question, under the above category, which read: “Roger Way tasted 200 of these a day, helping him develop the Empire and Jonagold types.”

'Jumping Genes'

In 1983, Barbara McClintock, M.S. ’25, Ph.D. ’27, won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for work she had done in the 1940s and '50s on mobile genetic elements.

Growing the Greenhouse Industry

In the early 1960s, Ray Sheldrake and James W. Boodley developed the Cornell Peat-Lite Mixes which formed the basis for modern potting soil mixes.

Communication

In first look at Facebook data, researchers to track patterns of fake news

A CALS researcher is collaborating on an unprecedented study examining Facebook data to look for patterns in “problematic sharing” to determine whether this activity spikes around elections or terrorist attacks.

Food Science

Cornell scientists discover new antibiotic resistance gene

While sifting through the bacterial genome of salmonella, Cornell food scientists discovered mcr-9, a stealthy jumping gene so diabolical that it resists one of the world’s few last-resort antibiotics.

Entomology

Study challenges widely held assumption of bee evolution

Rewriting the commonly-cited theory about bee evolution and the cause behind an explosion in diversity some 120 million years ago.

Biological & Environmental Engineering

Research explains diabetics’ increased metastatic cancer risk

Sugar glycation was shown to stiffen and alter the architecture of tissue and promote breast tumor cell movement, pointing to a possible mechanical link between diabetes and metastatic cancer.

Natural Resources

Center for Conservation Social Sciences looks at human role in nature

In the 1970s, CALS pioneered the concept that wildlife professionals can more effectively manage species and social-ecological systems by considering humanity's role, founding the first center of its kind to partner with policymakers.

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Oceanic plastic trash conveys disease to coral reefs

An international research group led by Cornell University found that plastic trashubiquitous throughout the world’s oceansintensifies disease for coral and adds to reef peril.

Facebook site on computer browser
mcr-9 gene
A bee
Red Tail Hawk
Joleah Lamb examing coral while scuba diving

14

new beetle species

James Liebherr discovered the new beetle species in Tahiti, putting him at having discovered about half of the 400 total known Mecyclothorax species.

90

Day shelf life

CALS food scientists naturally increased the shelf life of cottage cheese from 21 days to 50-90 days. More cottage cheese is made in New York than any other state.

#1

Top Tater for Potato Chips

The Lamoka variety fries to a light color, maintains its quality in storage, and is also resistant to pests and disease.

No Matter How You Slice It

Almost all slicing cucumbers in the U.S. derive their disease resistance from plants Henry Munger bred.

A Crystalizing Concept

In 1926, James B. "Jackbean" Sumner was the first to isolate an enzyme called urease.

Orange You Glad?

Michael Dickson developed the orange cauliflower, a variety high in beta carotene, which is used by the human body to make the essential nutrient vitamin A.

Laureates, Fellows & Award Winners

  • James Batcheller Sumner (1887 - 1995) - Professor of Biochemistry (faculty 1929-1955), 1946 Nobel Peace Prize in Chemistry for crystallization the first enzyme
  • George Wells Beadle (1903 - 1989), Ph.D. '30 -Professor of Molecularly Biology and Genetics, 1958 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the "one gene, one enzyme" hypothesis 
  • Robert W. Holley (1922 - 1993), Ph.D. '47 -Professor of Biochemistry, 1968 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for cracking the genetic code of ribonucleic acid (RNA) 
  • Norman Ernest Borlaug (1914 - 2009) - Father of the Green Revolution, Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large 1982-88, 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for improving cultivation methods to combat world hunger
  • Barbara McClintock  (1902 - 1992), B.S. '23, M.A. '25, Ph.D. '27 - World-Renowned Cytogeneticist, Professor of Genetics 1927-74, 1983 Nobel Peace Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her work on mobile genetic elements. The United States Postal Service commissioned a stamp in her honor in 2005.
  • Jean-Yves Parlange,* Biological and Environmental Engineering (2006)
  • Norman R. Scott,* Biological and Environmental Engineering (1990)
  • 2003: Pedro A. Sanchez, B.S. ’62, M.S. ’64, Ph.D. ’68 - Soil Science, in South America. He led a team that transformed 75 million acres of marginal land in Brazil into arable productivity, one of the largest such conversions ever
  • 1981: Barbara McClintock, B.S. ’23, M.A. ’25, Ph.D. ’27; Faculty 1927-74 - Genetics 
  • Corrie Moreau, Entomology (2018)
  • Karl Joseph Niklas, Plant Biology (2018)
  • Charles Walcott, Neurobiology and Behavior (2018) 
  • Martin Wiedmann, Food Science (2018) 
  • Joseph B. Yavitt, Natural Resources (2018)
  • Daniel Barbash, Molecular Biology & Genetics (2017)
  • Amanda Rodewald, Natural Resources and Lab of Ornithology (2017)
  • Christine Smart, School of Integrative Plant Science (2017)
  • Sidney Liebovich (2016)
  • Kathryn Boor, Food Science (2015)
  • Patricia Johnson, Animal Science (2013)
  • Rui Hai Liu, Food Science (2011)
  • Michael Scanlon (2009)
  • John Schimenti (2008)
  • Bruce Lewenstein (2002)
  • Harry Walter Greene, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (2014)
  • Anthony P. Bretscher, Molecular Biology and Genetics (2018
  • Kenneth J. Kemphues, Molecular Biology and Genetics (2013)
  • John T. Lis, Molecular Biology and Genetics (2013)
  • Sandra L. Vehrencamp, Neurobiology and Behavior; Laboratory of Ornithology (2013)
  • Ronald Raymond Hoy, Neurobiology and Behavior (2010)
  • Stephen T. Emlen, Neurobiology and Behavior (2007)
  • Scott D. Emr, Molecular Biology and Genetics (2004)
  • Thomas D. Seeley, Neurobiology and Behavior (2001)
  • Malden C. Nesheim, Nutritional Sciences (1995)
  • Jeffrey W. Roberts, Molecular Biology and Genetics (1995)
  • Frank H. T. Rhodes, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; President Emeritus (1989)
  • Wendell L. Roelofs, Entomology, Cornell Geneva Campus (1986)
  • 1994 - Thomas Eisner 
  • 1983 - Wendell Roelofs 
  • 1976 - Efraim Racker
  • 1970 - Barbara McClintock, B.S. '23, M.A. '25, Ph.D '27, faculty 1927
  • 2002 - Dennis Gonsalves - Plant Pathology, internationally known for developing the ringspot virus-resistant papaya that saved the Hawaiian papaya industry (no longer at Cornell)
  • 1998 - Steve Tanksley - Plant Breeding & Genetics - developed the first molecular maps of rice and tomatoes. He used these genetic guides for the identification of trait locations on genes, and he was the first plant geneticist to use map-based cloning of a pest-resistance gene in a crop plant. 
  • 1977 - Wendell Roelofs - Entomology, internationally known for his pioneering research with insect pheromones