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26th annual DRI Nevada Medal event to honor renowned geneticist Nina Fedoroff

By ThisIsReno


The Desert Research Institute will proudly present Dr. Nina Fedoroff, a leading geneticist and molecular biologist who is a pioneering researcher in the field of plant genetics, with the 2013 DRI Nevada Medal during a special event scheduled next spring in Reno.

Dr. Fedoroff’s research on the molecular biology of plants and their responses to environmental stress has helped develop modern techniques used to study and modify plants and earned her the 2006 National Medal of Science, the highest honor awarded for lifetime achievement to U.S. scientists. She has now undertaken to pioneer solutions to some of the world’s most difficult agricultural challenges.

“I am delighted and honored to have been selected as the recipient of the 2013 DRI Nevada Medal,” said Dr. Fedoroff. “I am an admirer of the Desert Research Institute and its work and I’m looking forward to sharing my research during my time in Nevada.”

The 26th Annual DRI Nevada Medal Event in Reno will include a formal dinner and program, scheduled for Tuesday, April 30 at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino. A cocktail hour is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., with dinner and the awards ceremony beginning at 7 p.m.

Dr. Fedoroff is currently a Distinguished Professor of Biosciences and Director of the Center for Desert Agriculture at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, where she is establishing an experimental program in crop and aquaculture biology and technology for arid climates.

She received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Rockefeller University, and has served on the faculties of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Johns Hopkins University and Pennsylvania State University, where she was the Director of the Biotechnology Institute and a founding Director of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences.

In the late 1970’s when DNA sequencing technology was first developed, Dr. Fedoroff sequenced one of the first complete eukaryotic genes. Advancing the work of famed geneticist Barbara McClintock, Fedoroff turned to molecular studies in plants in the early 1980s and successfully cloned one of the first plant genes. The molecular techniques developed in her laboratory were fundamental in creating the now thriving field of plant molecular biology.

“In only a few decades Dr. Fedoroff’s research has helped stimulate a revolution in biology,” said DRI President, Dr. Stephen Wells. “The reality is our world is changing and we need leaders like Dr. Fedoroff to help us address the problems and challenges that lie ahead.”

From 2007 to 2010, Dr. Fedoroff served as the Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State, first under Secretary Condoleezza Rice and more recently under Secretary Hillary Clinton. She has published two books and more than 140 papers in scientific journals. She is a member of several academies, including the US National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

About the DRI Nevada Medal:
The DRI Nevada Medal is a national award given annually, since 1988, by the Desert Research Institute to recognize and stimulate outstanding scientific, engineering, and technical achievements. Nominations are solicited from universities, research organizations, corporations, and individuals nationwide.

The DRI Nevada Medal award includes an eight-ounce minted medallion of .999 pure Nevada silver and $20,000 lecture honorarium.

The award program involves public lectures by the medalist at DRI campuses in Reno and Las Vegas. The award is formally presented by the Governor of Nevada during dinner ceremonies in Reno and Las Vegas attended by Nevada’s business, educational and governmental leaders.

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