UNT | University of North Texas

Search form

Distinguished UNT professor elected into the Royal Society

Dr. Dixon at Royal Society signing

Richard Dixon, University Distinguished Research Professor in UNT’s Department of Biological Sciences, was recently elected into the United Kingdom’s Royal Society, the oldest scientific organization in the world dedicated to the understanding and advancement of science. The Royal Society is similar to the United States’ National Academy of Sciences, of which Dixon also is a member. Only 14 Texans are fellows of the Royal Society.

“I am originally from the U.K. so my election into the Royal Society is especially exciting for me,” says Dixon, who over the past three decades has become known as a world leader in plant science.

“There is no specific checklist of achievement to become a fellow of the Royal Society. It's based on recognition by your peers. I have been lucky to have had such a great group of colleagues and collaborators, both in my earlier career and here at UNT.”

A world leader in the field of plant-specialized metabolism and in creating innovative bio-based solutions, Dixon also is a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Inventors and the American Society of Plant Biologists. 

He has published more than 400 papers and chapters on these and related topics in international journals, and he has been named by the Institute for Scientific Information as one of the 10 most cited authors in the plant and animal sciences — with his work being cited more than 66,000 times. Dixon is the founding director of UNT’s BioDiscovery Institute and currently serves as its associate director.

Most recently Dixon, with researchers from the institute, discovered ways to alter tannins in alfalfa and related plants to improve the environmental footprint of the crop for livestock. Their findings were published in Nature Plants journal.

 “By learning how to engineer plants, we can start to develop, manipulate and tailor them to our needs for new solutions,” Dixon says.
“We’re trying to improve plants to make them useful for farmers, for industry and for human health.”