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Purdue University Recognizes UCR Scientist

Purdue University Recognizes UCR Director of the Institute
For Integrative Genome Biology with Alumni Award

Jian-Kang Zhu, professor of plant cell biology receives Distinguished Agricultural Alumni Award

(April 14, 2005)

Professor of Plant Cell Biology, Jian-Kang Zhu

Professor of Plant Cell Biology, Jian-Kang Zhu

RIVERSIDE, California. -- The Purdue University College of Agriculture honored UC Riverside’s Jian-Kang Zhu, director for the Institute for Integrative Genome Biology, among the eight researchers receiving the Distinguished Agricultural Alumni Awards at an April 1 ceremony in West Lafayette, Ind.

The award recipients were cited for their outstanding accomplishments and significant contributions to their profession and to society, and for having a record of outstanding accomplishments in their fields.

Zhu received his M.S. in botany in 1990, from UC Riverside and his Ph.D. in horticulture from Purdue in 1993. He is a frequent guest lecturer and conference chair, sharing with scientists worldwide his laboratory’s revolutionary findings on plant stress resistance — specifically, identifying key genes that control how plants respond to stresses such as drought, severe temperatures and poor soil.

His discoveries include breakthroughs resulting in the identification of particular genes in plants, which can be used to make them more resistant to stress.

He was one of 308 recipients nationwide named a 2004 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in February. Award recipients were recognized for their efforts to advance science or its applications that are deemed scientifically or socially distinguished.

Experiments and evaluations are ongoing in Zhu’s laboratories, but all point in the same positive direction: Someday, perhaps even in the next decade, improved genes will be incorporated into plants’ genomes, which will enable them to use water more efficiently, and produce more abundant and proficient yields.

Fellow Distinguished Agricultural Alumni Award recipients included:

Tom J. Bechman, editor, Indiana Prairie Farmer, Franklin, Ind.

Scott C. Beck, president, Great Harvest Organics, Atlanta, Ind.

Mark H. Legan, co-owner, Legan Livestock and Grain, Coatsville, Ind.

Jeffrey M. Luckman, vice president of Livestock Procurement at Smithfield Foods Inc., Newport News, Va.

April C. Mason, dean of of the College of Applied Human Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo.

Gerald A. Powell, Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Dow AgroSciences, Zionsville, Ind.

W. Wayne Townsend, owner and operator, Townsend Farms, Hartford City, Ind.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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