Dr. Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra Awarded the 2024 NAS Prize in Food & Agriculture Sciences

Washington, DC.

Maize is an important food source for humans and livestock and is used in various industrial products such as biofuels. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is awarding Dr. Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra of the University of California, Davis the 2024 NAS Prize in Food & Agriculture Sciences for pioneering studies on the evolutionary genetics of maize, a key crop species for global food production, to advance our understanding of the evolution of all crops.

Ross-Ibarra, 2024 NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture recipient
Ross-Ibarra, 2024 NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture recipient

The NAS Prize, endowed by the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is awarded annually to a mid-career scientist at a U.S. institution making an extraordinary contribution to agriculture or to the understanding of the biology of a species fundamentally important to agriculture or food production. The Prize includes a medal and a $100,000 award.

Maize is a staple crop in the U.S. and throughout the world. Understanding maize’s genetic history is critical to our continued ability to improve maize performance and adaptation. Dr. Ross-Ibarra's research to understand maize genetic evolution and its domestication tells an impactful story and guides the future of maize production. FFAR congratulates him on this prestigious prize. Saharah Moon Chapotin, Ph.D.
Executive Director

Ross-Ibarra’s research uses population genetic approaches to address questions ranging from transposable element evolution to the genetics of quantitative traits, maize and human coevolution, domestication and local adaptation. His studies of maize and its wild relatives have revealed the extensive impact of changing genomic diversity in maize and demonstrated the utility of genomic approaches to predict crop performance.

This award is a recognition of the value of evolutionary genetics approaches – essentially letting nature do the experimental work for us – to understanding past and future adaptation in maize and other crops,“It is also a testament to the fantastic group of talented trainees and collaborators I’ve had the privilege of working with for the last 15 years. Dr. Ross-Ibarra
NAS Prize Winner and professor of evolution and ecology


Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research

The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.

Connect: @FoundationFAR

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