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Ron Phillips has been a faculty member at the U of M since 1968.

U of M Regents professor Ron Phillips honored with prestigious 'Medal for Science'

Contacts: Becky Beyers, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, bbeyers@umn.edu, (612) 626-5754
Patty Mattern, University News Service, mattern@umn.edu, (612) 624-2801

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (04/14/2010) —Renowned University of Minnesota plant geneticist Ron Phillips has been awarded the ISA 2010 Medal for Science, the highest honor awarded by the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Bologna in Bologna, Italy.

The Medal for Science is the highest honor awarded by the institute and recognizes "research contributions characterized by both excellence and influence;" the University of Bologna is considered one of the world's oldest and most prestigious universities.

Phillips, who has been a faculty member at the University of Minnesota since 1968 and developed one of the early programs in modern plant biotechnology applied to agriculture, will retire next month. He was the first to regenerate corn plants from cells in tissue culture, a contribution that allowed for development of genetic engineering in cereal crops.  His research since then has focused on the improvement of cereal crops through plant genetics and molecular biology. He was nominated for the Medal for Science by a group of scientists at the University of Bologna's department of agro-environmental science and technology.

This award is one of many in Phillips' long career; he also is a recipient of the Wolf Prize in Agriculture presented at the Knesset in Israel and has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences since 1991. On May 24, his career at the University of Minnesota will be celebrated with an all-day research symposium. The symposium will feature Phillips' past graduate students and postdoctoral scientists, many of whom have become plant genetics experts in their own right.

 "This award is a distinct honor recognizing our efforts in 'Mobilizing Science for Agriculture,' the title of my acceptance speech," Phillips said. "The University of Minnesota provides excellent opportunities to discover innovative approaches to help alleviate the hunger of one billion malnourished people in today's world, a problem that does not have to exist."

Tags: College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences

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