Professor receives lifetime achievement award for 50 years of work

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Posted: Oct 27, 2010

Dr. James Brewbaker
Dr. James Brewbaker
James Brewbaker of UH Mānoa’s Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences in the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources was honored with the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award at the 4th annual meeting of the Plant Breeding Coordinating Committee (PBCC) in August.
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual active in the plant breeding field who has shown exceptional accomplishments in research, teaching and collaborations with others. As the 2010 award winner, Brewbaker will participate as a special guest at the May 2011 meeting of the NAPB/PBCC in College Station, Texas.
Brewbaker, known as “Dr. B,” served in the U.S. Navy before completing his BS in general science at Colorado University. His career was indelibly shaped by summers spent working with plant breeders at Cornell, Cal Tech and Minnesota. His Cornell PhD on incompatibility genetics of polyploid clovers was followed by a post-doctoral year in Sweden and two years at University of the Philippines on rice and corn breeding. He returned to the U.S. for a five-year post-doctoral at the Atomic Energy Commission’s Brookhaven Laboratory before joining UH Mānoa in 1961.
The broad diversity of Dr. B’s plant breeding and genetic achievements reflects the internationalism of his 52 graduate students and Hawai‘i’s dream climate for a plant breeder. Brewbaker planted corn breeding nurseries in two of every three months since 1970. Many of his 280 publications are on corn genetics and breeding, but he is best known internationally for genetic improvement in the tropical legume tree leucaena.
He founded and directs Hawai‘i’s Foundation Seed, where many of the 2,500 entries represent his expeditions, collections and breeding.  He is also a founding member of NAPB and the Crop Science Society of America, and founded and led Hawai‘i’s Crop Improvement Association and the Nitrogen Fixing Tree Association.  He has taught experimental design and quantitative genetics and served as president of Hawai‘i’s Sigma Xi, its Academy of Science and its Botanical Society. Among his most gratifying efforts has been inviting corn seeds men to Hawai‘i in the mid-1960s, founding an agricultural industry that is now the state’s largest.  
The PBCC is a national multi-state project administered by the Southern AssociationofAgricultural Experiment Station Directors and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The PBCC provides expertise, leadership and discussion forums on matters affecting U.S. plant breeding, including research, education, and breeding’s relevance to current and future national needs. The NAPB, which represents and advocates for plant breeders in the U.S. working in the public and private sectors, also strives to highlight their accomplishments.
For more information about the PBCC, see