Joanne Chory, PhD

Professor and Director

Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator

Howard H. and Maryam R. Newman Chair in Plant Biology

Salk Institute for Biological Studies - Videos


2024 Franklin Institute Awards Ceremony Honoring Joanne Chory

In 2024, The Franklin Institute honored Joanne Chory with the Benjamin Franklin Medal for applying genetics to the understanding of how plants sense and respond to light, and for inspiring new strategies for utilizing plants to combat climate change. For more information:

The best offense is a great defense for some carnivorous plants

LA JOLLA–Insect-eating plants have fascinated biologists for more than a century, but how plants evolved the ability to capture and consume live prey has largely remained a mystery. Now, Salk scientists, along with collaborators from Washington University in St. Louis, have investigated the molecular basis of plant carnivory and found evidence that it evolved from mechanisms plants use to defend themselves. Learn more »

How supercharged plants could slow climate change

The Salk Institute’s Harnessing Plants Initiative (HPI) is an innovative, scalable and bold approach to fight climate change by optimizing a plant’s natural ability to capture and store carbon and adapt to diverse climate conditions. We believe that our approach can help draw down and store more carbon and that we can—combined with other global efforts—mitigate the disastrous effects of climate change while providing more food, fuel and fiber for a growing population. Learn more »

Dr Joanne Chory Breakthrough Prize 2018 Winner

Joanne Chory, winner of the 2018 Breakthrough Prize is interviewed on the red carpet before the 2019 Breakthrough Prize ceremony.

Cellular damage control system helps plants tough it out

LA JOLLA–As food demands rise to unprecedented levels, farmers are in a race against time to grow plants that can withstand environmental challenges–infestation, climate change and more. Now, new research at the Salk Institute, published in Science on October 23, 2015, reveals details into a fundamental mechanism of how plants manage their energy intake, which could potentially be harnessed to improve yield. Read more »


AB, Biology, Oberlin College, Ohio
PhD, Microbiology, University of Illinois
Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School

Awards & Honors

  • Wolf Prize Laureate in Agriculture, 2024
  • Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science, 2024
  • Pearl Meister Greengard Prize, 2020
  • Princess of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research, 2019
  • Honorary Doctorate of Science, Oberlin College, 2019
  • University of Illinois Alumni Achievement Award, 2018
  • Gruber Genetics Prize, 2018
  • National Academy of Inventors Fellow, 2018
  • Breakthrough Prize, 2018
  • American Philosophical Society Member, 2015
  • Danforth Award for Excellence in Plant Science, 2013
  • Genetics Society of America Medal, 2012
  • Royal Society of London Foreign Member, 2011
  • French Academy of Science Foreign Associate, 2010
  • German National Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina) Member, 2009
  • European Molecular Biology Organization Associate Member, 2006
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, 2005
  • Kumho Award in Plant Molecular Biology, 2004
  • Scientific American 50: Research Leader in Agriculture, 2003
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, 1997
  • L’Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women In Science (North America), 2000
  • U.S. National Academy of Sciences Member, 1999
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow, 1998
  • Charles Albert Schull Award of the American Society of Plant Biologists, 1995
  • Award for Initiatives in Research of the National Academy of Sciences, 1994