The American biologist Winslow Russel Briggs (1928–2019) was a global leader in plant physiology, genetics and photobiology. After earning his PhD at Harvard (Cambridge, Massachusetts), he started his independent research program at Stanford University (California). Among many major contributions was his elegant experiment that conclusively demonstrated the role of auxin transport in the phototropic bending response of grass coleoptiles. During subsequent years as Professor of biology at Harvard University, Briggs focused on phytochrome and photomorphogenesis. In 1973, he re-located to Stanford to become Director of the Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution for Science, and faculty member in the Biology Department at Stanford University. After his retirement (1993), he continued his research on “light and plant development” as an emeritus at Carnegie until the day of his death on February 11, 2019. Through his long research career, Briggs stayed at the cutting edge by re-inventing himself from a plant physiologist, to biochemist, geneticist, and molecular biologist. He made numerous discoveries, including the LOV-domain photoreceptor phototropin. Winslow Briggs, who was also a naturalist and gifted pianist, inspired and promoted the work of generations of young scientists – as mentor, colleague and friend.
The last two Members of the Briggs-Lab (Carnegie/Stanford), Dr. Ulrich Kutschera & Dr. Rajnish Khanna (i-Cultiver Inc., San Francisco, CA, USA), cooperate and finish/continue the experimental work of our former PI, Dr. W. R. Briggs. We will publish all relevant data generated by us, and the PI, in the Briggs-lab over the past five years. (see the Plant Biology Tree, W. R. Briggs/Stanford)