May 31, 2006

Geneticist Edward Buckler wins U.S. research award

The U.S. government has awarded the Arthur S. Fleming Award to Edward Buckler, a U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Station (USDA-ARS) research geneticist in Cornell's Institute for Genomic Diversity and an adjunct associate professor in Cornell's Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics.

Washington gives out only 12 such awards each year to outstanding people who have worked for a federal agency from three to 15 years. Only four of these awards are given for scientific research in all U.S. government research facilities. Four awards are also given for mathematics and engineering, and four for administrative work.

Buckler will receive the award in Washington, D.C., June 13. His research involves developing new tools to dissect complex genetic traits, meaning the countless important traits that are controlled by many genes together, including those that contribute to diseases, crop yields, milk yields or the growth of many organisms.

"Ed is a rising star," said Leon V. Kochian, an adjunct professor of plant biology and director of the U.S. Plant, Soil and Nutrition Laboratory at Cornell. "Ed has been a pioneer and leader in the field of using genomics and statistical genetics to understand and dissect complex traits in plants, but really in any organism, to the level of single genes. He has made novel discoveries that apply to the entire field."

Last year Buckler received the ARS Herbert L. Rothbart Outstanding Early Career Research Scientist Award.

"For me, it [the Arthur S. Fleming Award] really represents the work of lots of people in my group over the last seven or eight years," said Buckler. "It's a real tribute to all the work done to come up with new ways to understand the basis of complex traits. It's certainly an honor to get the award."