The New Phytologist Tansley Medal is awarded to scientists who have made outstanding contributions to plant science within 5 yr of receiving their PhD (Woodward & Hetherington, 2010, 2011; Dolan, 2012, 2013). In 2013 medals were awarded to Jing-Ke Weng, formerly of the Salk Institute, La Jolla (CA, USA), and now based at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MA, USA), and Li-Qing Chen from the Carnegie Institution, Stanford (CA, USA) (see Box 1).
Jing-Ke Weng is a plant biochemist with extensive experience in genomics and metabolomics and has made major contributions to our understanding of the evolution of metabolic pathways. Jing-Ke completed a PhD with Clint Chapple in 2009 at Purdue University (IN, USA) and discovered how the metabolic network leading to the formation of a-pyrone synthesis was assembled during evolution. His time in Indiana was very productive with a series of high impact papers on metabolic pathways in a variety of organisms including Selaginella moellendorffii and Arabidopsis thaliana. Jing-Ke's minireview entitled ‘The evolutionary paths towards complexity: a metabolic perspective ’ is published in this issue of New Phytologist (Weng, pp. 1141–1149).
Li-Qing Chen has a background in forest genetics and nutrient acquisition. Li-Qing has published high profile papers outlining important breakthroughs at each stage in her career. She discovered novel regulators of the AKT1 K+ transporter in A. thaliana during her PhD research with Wei-Hua Wu at China Agricultural University in Beijing. She moved to Wolf Frommer's laboratory (in the Carnegie Institution, Stanford) in 2007 and discovered a role for SWEET proteins in phloem loading. Her minireview entitled ‘SWEET sugar transporters for phloem transport and pathogen nutrition’ is published in this issue of New Phytologist (Chen, pp. 1150–1155).
There were two excellent runners up. Elizabeth Wolkovich, from the University of British Columbia (BC, Canada), whose minireview ‘Progress towards an interdisciplinary science of plant phenology: building predictions across space, time and species diversity ’ is published in this issue (Wolkovich et al., pp. 1156–1162). Jacquelyn Gill from the University of Wisconsin, Madison (WI, USA), published a minireview entitled ‘Ecological impacts of the Later Quaternary megaherbivore extinctions’ (Gill, pp. 1163–1169).
Congratulations to all our finalists on their achievements. The New Phytologist will keep a watchful eye on their burgeoning careers.