Dr Cristiane Calixto

Crops    |   Innovation    |   Research   

A young Brazilian plant scientist whose research focusses on molecular biology and gene expression has been awarded the prestigious Peter Massalski Prize for Meritorious Research for 2018.

Dr Cristiane Calixto is a post-doctoral researcher in the Plant Sciences Division of the University of Dundee’s School of Life Sciences, based at the James Hutton Institute, who works on understanding how plant gene expression is regulated, and on using molecular and computational approaches to analyse crop stress responses.

Building on the partnership between the University of Dundee and the James Hutton Institute, her research provides new insights into the biology of plant and crop stress.

On winning the Prize, 35-year-old Dr Calixto said: “I am very pleased and grateful to be awarded the very prestigious Peter Massalski Prize. It has been a great learning experience to work in the University of Dundee’s Plant Sciences Division and the James Hutton Institute.

“I feel privileged to have been part of a great team of dynamic scientists and I will take this experience into my future career. I wish to thank all colleagues who have guided me and worked with me over a number of years, particularly Professor John Brown and Dr Runxuan Zhang.”

The Peter Massalski Prize is administered by the Scottish Society for Crop Research (SSCR) and awarded through the generosity of Professor and the late Mrs T B Massalski, in memory of their son, Dr Peter R Massalski, who was a member of staff at the former Scottish Crop Research Institute.

The prize is awarded biennially to a scientist under 36 years old, who is considered to have undertaken the most meritorious research whilst working for or with the James Hutton Institute, from any discipline and anywhere in the organisation. It takes the form of a special certificate accompanied by a monetary award.

Professor Colin Campbell, Chief Executive of the James Hutton Institute, said: “The Institute was extremely fortunate in having someone as talented as Peter Massalski undertaking research. He was amongst the first to use monoclonal antibodies in his work, so giving a new direction to virology research.

“This forward-looking attribute is no less present in the young scientists who work across the Institute today and is reflected in the very high calibre of applications we always receive for this Prize. Many congratulations to Dr Calixto and we look forward to her further achievements in the future.”

Dr Bill Macfarlane Smith added: “The SSCR lists amongst its aims and objectives, the encouragement of research not likely to be funded by other organisations, and the ‘pump-priming’ of research which will generate much greater funding in the future. Dr Calixto’s research fits well into both categories. Her work is of enormous interest and relevance to growers, processors and end-users. The Society wishes her every future success.”

The presentation of the Massalski Prize will take place at the annual general meeting of the SSCR, on Wednesday 23rd May at Abertay University. The meeting will be followed by the 2018 SSCR Lecture, offered by the well-known environmental author Mark Lynas on the subject of “Anti-science and post-truth, climate change, GMOs and nuclear power.”

Source: James Hutton Institute

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