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McLean Named Mode Endowed Professor of Genomics Research
North Dakota Ag Connection - 11/19/2020

Phillip McClean has been named the Dr. Charles Mode Endowed Professor of Genomics Research. McClean is a professor of dry bean genetics and genomics in the Department of Plant Sciences and the director of the genomics and bioinformatics program at North Dakota State University.

He has worked in the department since 1985, advising graduate students and teaching genomics and plant molecular genetics courses to graduate and undergraduate students.

McClean's primary research focus is discovering the genetic factors that control disease resistance, agronomic traits and seed coat color and patterning genes in common bean. His research includes collaborations with scientists in Guatemala, Honduras, Mozambique and Zambia to improve bean productivity in those countries using modern genetic techniques.

McClean earned his bachelor's degree at Metropolitan State College and master's degree and doctorate in agronomy from Colorado State University.

He was the project coordinator of the USDA-NIFA Common Bean Coordinated Agricultural Project from 2009 to 2014. The result of the research was the development of the largest collection of molecular markers in common bean and the completion of the first reference genome sequence of common bean. Recently, McClean led the completion of reference genome sequences for two other races of bean.

McClean has received several NDSU Agriculture and Extension faculty/staff awards, including the Excellence in Teaching Award for Early and Senior Career in 1994 and 2001, respectively, and the Eugene R. Dahl Excellence in Research Award in 2014. He also has been honored with the 1999 Achievement Award and the 2011 Frazier-Zaumeyer Distinguished Lectureship from the Bean Improvement Cooperative.

The Mode Professorship was established in 2017. Mode graduated from NDSU in 1952 in genetics and continued on to graduate school at Kansas State University and the University of California Davis, earning his doctorate in genetics. Most recently, he was professor emeritus in mathematics at Drexel University in Philadelphia. His goal for the Mode Professorship was to "enhance the operations of the NDSU College of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Natural Resources, Department of Plant Sciences and Department of Plant Pathology." Mode died in October 2020.

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