Plant scientist wins a UC Davis Innovator of the Year Award
Jorge Dubcovsky, UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Dubcovsky is a world-renowned wheat breeder and wheat geneticist whose recent innovation has greatly accelerated the study of gene function in wheat. His laboratory developed a gene capture tool and used it to sequence most wheat genes in a collection of 2,700 mutant lines.
“We have created a public database that contains 10 million mutations that can be used to find loss-of-function mutations in almost any wheat gene,” said Dubcovsky. Researchers can search this public database online and request the seeds carrying the desired mutations. More than 3,000 of these seed stocks have been distributed already to wheat researchers around the world.
Wheat provides 20 percent of the calories and 23 percent of the protein consumed by humans. More than 700 million tons of wheat are produced worldwide each year, meaning even small improvements can have a significant impact.
“In these times of climate change, resilience is important. You need to be able to respond to changes fast,” said Dubcovsky. His lab has used this technology to increase grain dietary fiber and size, and incorporated these traits into UC wheat varieties with increased grain protein content and improved resistance to diseases previously developed by his program.
About the UC Davis Chancellor’s Innovation Awards
Established in 2016, the UC Davis Chancellor’s Innovation Awards recognize faculty, community partners and industry leaders for their work, dedication and success in achieving societal impact either through innovations in technology or social engagement.
“The public mission of UC Davis is inextricably linked with the innovative spirit that drives our faculty, students and staff to transform their research, academic pursuits and passion into life-changing societal impact,” said Dushyant Pathak, associate vice chancellor for research and executive director of Venture Catalyst at UC Davis. “This year’s recipients of the Chancellor’s Innovator of the Year awards allow us to celebrate the unique range of innovation being fostered at UC Davis and the university innovators who are making their mark on the world.”
In addition to the Innovator of the Year, awards were presented to Vivek Ranadivé and the Sacramento Kings organization for the Innovative Community Partner of the Year and to Gary Snyder, professor emeritus of English, for the Lifetime Achievement Award for Innovation. Both of those awards were announced in a press release last week.
Lisa Howard, UC Davis Office of Research, 530-752-8117, firstname.lastname@example.org