Innovating Agriculture from Lab to Field
The deadline for application to the Plant Systems Biology Program is December 15, 2013 and the deadline for the Molecular Plant Breeding Program is March 1, 2014.
Weeks named Fellow to National Academy of Inventors
(December 2013) Donald Weeks has been named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, an honor given to esteemed innovators and inventors. Weeks, the Maxcy Professor of Agriculture and Natural Resources, was recognized for distinguished contributions in plant and algal biotechnology and efforts to translate research discoveries into solutions that benefit society.
Holding earns research awards
(November 2013) Assistant professor David Holding received a Junior Faculty for Excellence in Research Award. The awards are provided through the Branham Endowment Fund. Given annually by the Agricultural Research Division, the award is for tenure-track assistant professors with an ARD appointment with five or less years of professional service at UNL. The award is based upon publication record, evidence of external funding activity and peer recognition.
Holding is an assistant professor with the Center for Plant Science Innovation and Agronomy and Horticulture. He has published research papers in journals including Nature Communications, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Plant Cell and Plant Physiology and recently received extramural funding from USDA-NIFA and ConAgra. His research program aims to identify and functionally characterize genes involved in kernel maturation in corn and sorghum. He is particularly interested in understanding and exploiting the complex relationship between kernel texture and protein quality.
Researchers expand understanding of microRNAs
(October 2013) Discovered just two decades ago, tiny molecules called microRNAs are now known to be powerful agents in regulating gene expression. Yet they aren’t well understood. A team of UNL biologists has uncovered important clues about how plant cells regulate microRNAs, a step toward better understanding how crops respond to stress, such as droughts.
Bin Yu, assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences and member of UNL’s Center for Plant Science Innovation; Shuxin Zhang, post-doctoral research associate; and their colleagues made their discoveries in Arabidopsis, a well-known plant model. But their findings also could be important to understanding microRNAs in humans and other organisms. The team’s findings were published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Biofuels research clears hurdle
(September 2013) UNL plant scientists Ed Cahoon and Tom Clemente aim to super-charge plants like Camelina for biofuel production. DOE requires Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy program recipients to demonstrate progress to continue receiving funding, and the UNL Center for Plant Science Innovation researchers recently cleared that hurdle.
Mackenzie named 2013 ASPB Fellow
(April 2013) Dr. Sally Mackenzie has been named a 2013 Fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB). The Fellow of ASPB award was established in 2007 to recognize distinguished and long-term contributions to plant biology and service to the Society by current members in areas including research, education, and professional and public service. Dr. Mackenzie has served on numerous ASPB committees including the Executive Committee (2007 to present), the Public Affairs Committee (2009-present), and the Publications Committee, which she has chaired since 2006 and also on the editorial board of Plant Physiology.
Special recognition to Dr. Ray Chollet, Professor Emeritus, who was also named a 2013 Fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) and to Dr. Brian Larkins, Associate Vice Chancellor for Life Sciences, who is the recipient of the 2013 Stephen Hales Prize.
Lorenz is a DuPont Young Professor
Aaron Lorenz, assistant professor of agronomy and horticulture, is one of nine professors in the nation to be honored by the DuPont Young Professors program.
The awards are given to advance key research that is relevant to DuPont. Lorenz is part of the 2012 class of honorees.
Lorenz has been at UNL since 2010. He was honored for his work in the optimization of genomic selection for plant breeding. The award is $25,000 per year, renewed for up to three years.
Lorenz received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture-plant science from the University of Minnesota, a master’s in plant breeding from Iowa State University and a doctorate in plant breeding and genomics from the University of Wisconsin.
Significant advances in knowledge within the plant sciences will be necessary to achieve sustainable agricultural systems and a steady supply of renewable resources, including biofuels. To accomplish these goals the Plant Sciences Program trains students in an integrative manner, allowing them to explore the frontiers of knowledge and gain experience for a variety of career opportunities.