Boris Igić : A fertile mind
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago. Age: 33
In 1997, Boris Igić, a junior at Washington University in St. Louis, was pursuing a degree in history. But after the third meeting of his first-ever course on evolution, he rushed out the classroom door and made a beeline to the registrar’s office, where he switched his major to biology. A few months later, Igić handed in the first science term paper he’d ever written, an analysis of the genetic basis of plant self-incompatibility (SI)—a plant’s ability to recognize and reject its own pollen—in three distantly related plant families. He got a B+. Four years after that, at the end of his first year of graduate school, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published a refined version of that paper.1 This past August, Igić, now a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, received an E-mail from Science. A paper he recently wrote had been accepted. The topic? Plant self-incompatibility.