Speaker: Professor Pamela C. Ronald
Distinguished Professor, Dept of Plant Pathology and the Genome Center, UC Davis
Director, Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy, UC Davis
Key Scientist, Joint Bioenergy Institute
Faculty Affiliate, Center on Food Security and the Environment, Stanford University
Professor Pamela Ronald is recognized for her discovery of rice genes controlling resistance to infection and tolerance to submergence. Submergence tolerant, climate-resilient rice varieties grown by more than six million subsistence farmers in India and Bangladesh. Ronald also contributed to the development of targeted gene insertion at a pre-determined genomic safe harbor in rice, which provides a desirable alternative to random transgene insertion obtained through conventional methods. Ronald’s team used of an optimized CRISPR-Cas9-based method to achieve targeted gene insertion of a 5.2 kb DNA fragment at newly identified genomic safe harbors in rice. They obtained a marker-free rice plants with high carotenoid content in the seeds and no detectable penalty in morphology or yield. Whole genome sequencing revealed the absence of detectable off-target mutations by Cas9 in this plant. These studies offer promising strategies for genetic improvement of rice and other crops.
About the Speaker:
Pamela Ronald completed her Ph.D. at UC Berkeley (1990), earned a B.S. from the Reed College (1982), an M.S. from Stanford University and an M.S. from the University of Uppsala, Sweden. Prof Ronald uses genetic techniques to understand the plant response to infection and tolerance to environmental stress. With her collaborators, she received the 2008 USDA National Research Initiative Discovery Award and the 2012 Tech Award for the innovative use of technology to benefit humanity. In 2015 Scientific American named her one of the 100 most influential people in biotechnology. Ronald’s book, Tomorrow’s Table: Organic farming, Genetics and the Future of Food was selected as one of a 25 most influential books with the power to inspire college readers to change the world. Her 2015 TED talk has been viewed by more than 1.9 million people and translated into 26 languages. In 2019, she received the American Society of Plant Biologists Leadership Award, an honorary doctorate from the Swedish Agricultural University and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. In 2020, she was named a World Agricultural Prize Laureate by the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences.
Distinguished Professor, Dept of Plant Pathology and the Genome Center, UC Davis Director, Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy, UC Davis