2017 E.C. Stakman Award Winner: Adam Bogdanove
On April 30th, Adam Bogdanove, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology Section at Cornell University was awarded the 2017 E.C. Stakman Award. There was a short ceremony followed by a research presentation by Bogdanove "DNA targeting in plants by bacterial TAL effectors: pointing the way to disease resistance."
Adam Bogdanove’s research centers on bacterial infection of plants, with a focus on the role of TAL effectors in diseases of rice and other crop plants caused by Xanthomonas spp. TAL effectors are transcription factors injected by the bacteria into the host cell. Their targets include genes that contribute to disease development and, in resistant host varieties, genes that block disease progression.
His research contributions include understanding the modular mechanism by which TAL effectors recognize specific DNA sequence, establishing computational methods to predict TAL effector binding sites in complex genomes and pioneering the use of TAL effectors as customizable DNA targeting tools for applications such as targeted gene regulation and genome editing.
His current research focuses on the genotypic and functional diversity of TAL effectors and their targets, development of broad-spectrum, durable disease resistance in crop plants, and the use of genome editing to rapidly mobilize disease resistance and other valuable traits into different crop varieties.
From the nomination:
“Professor Adam Bogdanove has made fundamental advances in our understanding of bacterial pathogens of plants, which have led to revolutionary new tools for genome editing for basic science, crop and livestock improvement, industrial applications, and biomedical therapeutics. … [His] pioneering research on a bacterial pathogen of rice has elucidated the mechanism by which TAL effectors manipulate host gene expression to induce disease susceptibility and is being applied to make precise genome modifications for basic science, crop and livestock improvement, industrial applications, and biomedical therapeutics.”