Salk Institute scientist Joanne Chory, one of the world’s preeminent plant biologists who is now leading the charge to combat global warming with plant-based solutions, has been awarded a 2018 Breakthrough Prize for her pioneering work deciphering how plants optimize their growth, development and cellular structure to transform sunlight into chemical energy.
The prestigious award, founded in 2013 by Silicon Valley luminaries Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, and Yuri and Julia Milner, honors top achievements in life sciences, physics and mathematics.
Because plants are rooted in the ground, they must constantly adapt their shapes and sizes to an ever-changing environment. Chory has spent more than 25 years deciphering the mechanisms that allow plants to achieve this flexibility in form, pioneering the use of molecular genetics to study how plants respond to their environments and producing major discoveries surrounding how plants sense light and make growth hormones.
“Joanne has had a major influence on the field of plant biology. The breadth of her contributions to our knowledge of the genetics and molecular pathways that govern plant life cannot be overstated—these fundamentally influence all our lives,” says Elizabeth Blackburn, Nobel laureate and president of the Salk Institute.
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