The principal authority on all aspects of the study of endophytes, Gary A. Strobel is a distinguished microbiologist and naturalist. Dr. Strobel’s work has contributed forcefully, and uniquely, to the recognition of the necessity of conserving remote areas for the potential value they have to provide microorganisms that may prove enormously useful in all aspects of human endeavor and society.
Named by Forbes magazine as the “Indiana Jones of Fungus Hunters,” Strobel has embarked on collection trips and research into the use of endophytes for various applications in some of the most remote areas of the globe. He holds more than fifty US patents and hundreds of international patents. He has licensed more than twenty specimens to pharmaceutical and chemical companies, most famously Taxol, an anti-cancer chemotherapy drug. Taxol is based on a natural substance produced by a fungus that Strobel discovered lives in the tissues of the Yew tree.
Additionally, Strobel’s work on the modification of tree microflora to preclude plant disease received major national attention in his efforts to biologically control Dutch elm disease. He was co-contributor to the discovery that somaclonal variation occurs in plants and can be used for plant improvement. Furthermore, the discovery of the Ri plasmid in Agrobacterium rhizogenes also originated in his laboratory. Dr. Strobel’s current work focuses on the endophytic fungus, Gliocladium roseum, that he discovered in Patagonia and has shown produces many of the same hydrocarbons found in diesel fuel.
Dr. Strobel is professor emeritus of plant pathology at Montana State University – Bozeman. A Fellow of the American Society for Microbiology and American Association for the Advancement of Science, he has received numerous awards including an NIH Career Development award, the Wiley award, special recognition from the Royal Nepal Chemical Society and the MSU –VP award for Technology and Science. Additionally, he served as Chief of the Montana NSF Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) Program which encourages and promotes science at all levels of society. In 2012, Dr. Strobel received the E.O. Wilson award for biodiversity.