Fellow Award 2022

The Society for In Vitro Biology established the Fellow Award to recognize outstanding professionals who have made significant contributions to the field of in vitro biology and demonstrated service to the Society. The Society for In Vitro Biology honored Dr. Mae Ciancio, Dr. Maria M. Jenderek, Dr. Kolla Kristjansdottir, and Dr. J. Pon Samuel with Fellow Awards at the 2022 In Vitro Biology Meeting, the Annual Meeting of the Society for In Vitro Biology. Dr. Jenderek and Dr. Kristjansdottir’s Fellow Awards are highlighted in this issue of the In Vitro Report, and Dr. Ciancio and Dr. Samuel will be highlighted in a future issue of the In Vitro Report.

Dr. Maria M. Jenderek

2022 SIVB Fellow Award Recipient

Dr. Maria M. Jenderek

Dr. Maria M. Jenderek


Dr. Maria M. Jenderek, Plant Physiologist at the USDA-ARS, National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation in Ft. Collins, CO, has been a member of SIVB for over 30 years. Dr. Jenderek has been very active in SIVB since 1989, presenting papers, organizing symposia and moderating sessions. Maria is well known for her willingness to contribute to SIVB activities. She organized sessions for the annual meetings for many years. Since 2012 she has been a member of the Publications Committee and is also currently an Associate Editor for In Vitro – Plant. She chaired the Awards Committee 2016-2022 and was honored with Distinguished Service Awards in 2018 and 2019.

Dr. Jenderek studied at the University of Agriculture, Kraków, Poland for her BS, MS (Engineering in Horticulture, Horticulture), and PhD (1979 Plant breeding and genetics).  She began her career at the Research Institute of Vegetable Crops, Skierniewice, PL, as Res. Assistant, Res. Associate, Res. Scientist, and eventually, as the Vice-Head of Genetics and Breeding Department. She worked briefly in Germany on DNA satellites.

Dr. Jenderek spent 10 years as a Senior Researcher and Manager of a virus-free tissue-culture laboratory, developing fertility restoration and true seed for garlic at Basic Vegetable Products, Hanford, CA. Restoring fertility to garlic has had a significant economic impact on the garlic industry; it allows breeding, and planting garlic with virus-free seed rather than cloves. During this time she managed a tissue culture lab that produced 0.5 million starts of virus-free planting material via meristem culture. This process increased bulb yield >5-fold.

Dr. Jenderek

2022 SIVB Fellow Award Recipient Maria Jenderek at the 2022 In Vitro Biology Meeting

In 1998 Dr. Jenderek became the Horticulturalist-Curator, Lead Scientist at the USDA-ARS, National Arid Land Plant Genetics Resources Unit, Parlier, CA for 8 years. She expanded the plant collections and further examined fertility restoration in the garlic accessions. As an Adjunct Assistant Professor at California State University, she and her associates developed the first genetic linkage map in Allium sativum L. During this time, she also established a micropropagation system for Hibiscus syriacus and H rosa-sinensis, and a regeneration method from callus.

Since 2006, Dr. Jenderek is the Plant Physiologist for clonal plant cryopreservation at the USDA-ARS, National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation, Fort Collins, CO, where she expanded the cryopreservation security backup of NPGS clonally propagated plants from ~8% to 18% of the clonal accessions. She also improved methods and introduced cryopreservation of additional clonal crops: banana, pineapple, and sweet potato. Dr. Jenderek greatly improved the cryostorage of dormant buds. She developed pretreatment methods for dormant buds (DBs) that increased post-LNV viability for selected woody plant species. This allowed the lab to apply DB cryopreservation to Juglans cinereaPyrus, Ribes, and some Prunus species (apricot and plum). Currently the lab is cryopreserving DBs of P. avium on a pilot scale, testing the method, before cryo-processing the entire sweet cherry collection from the Germplasm Repository at Davis, CA. Dr. Jenderek mentored several undergraduate students and a graduate student from Colorado State University on cryopreservation methods and viability improvement of dormant buds that led to the student’s doctoral dissertation. She has published 42 peer-reviewed papers and four book chapters, as well as over 100 meeting proceedings and abstracts. Overall, Dr. Jenderek has had an active career involving in vitro culture, and has participated fully in the SIVB, as a researcher, an organizer, a moderator, a reviewer and editor for In Vitro – Plant, and a committee member.

Dr. Kolbrun Kristjansdottir

2022 SIVB Fellow Award Recipient

Dr. Kolbrun (Kolla) Kristjansdottir

 Dr. Kolbrun (Kolla) Kristjansdottir

Dr. Kolbrun (Kolla) Kristjansdottir AWARDED THE 2022 SIVB FELLOW AWARD

Dr. Kolbrun (Kolla) Kristjansdottir has been an active and contributing member of the SIVB since 2013. Based on her extensive service to the society and scientific achievements, she received the SIVB Fellow Award (IVACS) for 2022.

Kolla earned her Bachelors (1997) and Masters (1999) degrees in biochemistry at the University of Iceland (Reykjavik, Iceland). She then moved to the United States where she attended Duke University to complete her Ph.D. in 2005. Afterward, she continued her training as a post-doc at the University of Chicago (2005-2012). She joined the faculty of the Biomedical Sciences Program, College of Health Sciences, at Midwestern University (Downers Grove, IL) in 2012, and has been a part of Midwestern to this day. Her success in research and teaching led to her promotion to associate professor with tenure in 2017. In 2019, Kolla became the associate director of the newly created Precision Medicine Program within the College of Graduate Studies.

She has been a major contributor to the SIVB annual meetings and a member of the program committee since 2014. Kolla has been a co-convener on seven symposia or plenary sessions from 2013 to 2021 and she has been active in the IVACS section service as Membership Chair (elected 2015-2018) and Section Chair (2018-2020). In recognition of her many contributions and demonstrated leadership abilities, Kolla was recently elected to the SIVB Board of Directors (IVACS Member- at-Large) for the 2022 to 2026 term.


Dr. Kristjansdottir with some of her students from Midwestern University during the 2019 In Vitro Biology Meeting in Tampa, Florida.

Kolla has led a very successful research program by supervising several research technicians and guiding dozens of students to complete thesis projects, fellowships, and research electives within her lab over the past ten years. Her lab has had two main areas of focus. The first has been dedicated to understanding the role of the protein, Nucleophosmin (NPM1), on the initiation and progression of neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a rare cancer that develops from immature nerve cells that most commonly manifests in the adrenal glands of young children and early adolescents. While the 5-year survival rate is over 90% in most cases, studies have shown a correlation between elevated NPM1 levels and poor prognosis of the disease. Kolla’s lab has been investigating the role NPM1 plays within the cell, and how its nucleo-cytoplasmic trafficking behaviors influence changes in cellular proliferation using in vitro cell culture models. Kolla’s lab has also worked as part of a collaborative effort with several other Midwestern researchers to understand how biophysical cues – in the form of topographical surface features – influence nerve growth and regeneration. She has used in vitro PC-12 cell culture models and ex vivo mouse dorsal root ganglia models to investigate these behaviors.

We are extremely pleased that Dr. Kristjansdottir’s achievements as a professor and SIVB member have been recognized through this award.

Submitted by: Joshua Z. Gasiorowski, Ph.D. and John W. Harbell, Ph.D.
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