The ASHA is a network of national and international scientists whose research keeps fruit, nut, vegetable, turf and ornamental crop producers competitive as they raise sustainable crops. The society was founded in 1903 and has members from 60 countries and all 50 states.
As a professor in the Department of Horticulture at MSU, Loescher has made major contributions to the understanding of carbohydrate metabolism in fruit trees and other horticultural species. His internationally recognized body of work has led him to be regarded as the premier U.S. scientist in this area.
Loescher grew up on a small greenhouse vegetable farm in northwestern Ohio and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Miami University. He received his doctoral degree in plant physiology and biochemistry from Iowa State University, where he also completed postdoctoral work in plant breeding.
After a two-year stint as a research biologist at the Los Angeles Arboretum, Loescher moved on to Washington State University, where he stayed for 15 years and served two years as interim chair of the horticulture department. He then moved to MSU as department chair and served for a decade. Loescher also served for two years as associate dean for research and graduate studies in the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“I have been very fortunate to have been able to work at these two institutions, both with exceptionally strong plant science programs that have provided many opportunities to team up with some of the very best plant scientists in the world and to attract outstanding graduate students and postdocs,” Loescher said. “There have also been a number of overseas projects and extensive collaborations, primarily in New Zealand, France and China.”
His work has contributed extensively to understanding abiotic stress resistance mechanisms. His studies, spanning diverse horticultural species and using a combination of horticultural, physiological, biochemical and molecular approaches, provide a strong bridge between fundamental and applied research.
Loescher has authored or co-authored more than 70 publications in plant science and horticultural journals, two of which were chosen as ASHS outstanding publications.