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Joanne Chory awarded 2012 Genetics Society of America medal

Joanne Chory

Joanne Chory

The Genetics Society of America (GSA) has honored Joanne Chory, director of the Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory and holder of the Howard H. and Maryam R. Newman Chair in Plant Biology, as the recipient of the prestigious 2012 Genetics Society of America Medal.

GSA established the Genetics Society of America Medal in 1981 to recognize mid-career researchers for outstanding contributions to the field of genetics during the previous 15 years of their careers; it is one of five awards given out annually by the organization for "distinguished service in the field of genetics."

Chory, an expert on how plants regulate their growth, pioneered the analysis of plant responses using genetic approaches in Arabidopsis thaliana to reveal the molecular mechanisms underlying plant development. Her laboratory has led the plant field for 20 years and made major discoveries in how plants detect and respond to changes in their environment, particularly light, which has implications for the growth and development of agricultural crops in challenging environments. She elucidated how plants perceive light; identified how chloroplasts signal to the nucleus; and defined a new pathway for the biosynthesis of the plant hormone auxin. She also discovered a novel steroid hormone in plants, identified the steroid receptor and elegantly dissected the signaling network.

"The Genetics Society of America Medal is a tremendous honor and underscores Joanne's extraordinary impact and leadership in the field of plant biology," said Salk president William R. Brody.