Edward Buckler, Ph.D., a research geneticist focused on nutrition and food security, accepted the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences on Sunday as part of the Academy’s 154th Annual Meeting in Washington.
The annual $100,000 NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences was established in 2016 through support from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to recognize research by a mid-career scientist at a U.S. institution who has made an extraordinary contribution to agriculture.
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research honored Buckler at a reception hosted with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on April 27.
The following reception speakers congratulated Dr. Buckler:
- Dan Glickman, outgoing FFAR board chair and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
- Sally Rockey, Ph.D., FFAR executive director
- Marcia McNutt, Ph.D., NAS president
- Pam Johnson, past president of the National Corn Growers Association and vice chair of the FFAR Board
- Rob Horsch, Ph.D., Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation deputy director of agricultural research and development
The speaking program closed with a presentation by Buckler on his research to date and outlook for the future of his field. The presentation will be available on the FFAR website later this month.
“This award reflects how great teams of scientists have been able to tap natural diversity with powerful new tools to address the challenges facing society, agriculture, and the environment today,” said Buckler.
Buckler, a U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service researcher and adjunct professor of plant breeding and genetics at Cornell University, studies the connection between a crop plant’s genetic makeup and the physical traits exhibited by different strains. His work includes development of a solution to vitamin A deficiency, a life-threatening issue in the developing world.
Buckler and his colleagues used their findings to breed a new kind of maize with 15 times more vitamin A than conventional varieties. This biofortified maize is now widely available in Zambia, where more than half of children under the age of five are vitamin A deficient.
“It is an honor to see Dr. Buckler officially receive the first-ever NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences,” said Sally Rockey, executive director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research. “On behalf of the Foundation, we congratulate Dr. Buckler and look forward to his future contributions to food and agriculture.”
Learn More: http://foundationfar.org/nas-prize/.