​2009 Awardee

Jeff Dangl

A plant-genome scientist and the John N. Couch Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina (UNC), Chapel Hill, was the 2009 recipient of the IS-MPMI Award. The award, only the second to be given, honors outstanding innovative research. Dangl joined UNC in 1995, after receiving a B.S. degree in biology, a B.A. degree in modern literature (1981), and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees (1986) from Stanford University. He is an elected member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and associate director of the Carolina Center for Genome Science. He served on the MPMI Editorial Board for 11 years. This self-proclaimed “hard-core geneticist” focuses on host-pathogen interactions, mainly looking at how plants recognize and fend off pathogens; overall, how to make plants more disease resistant.

His lab mostly uses Arabidopsis thaliana (thale cress)—the first plant genome to be sequenced—to study disease resistance. The lab’s research centers on 1) understanding the structure and function of plant NB-LRR disease resistance proteins, especially RPM1; 2) the molecular control of hypersensitive programmed cell death that accompanies disease resistance responses; and 3) understanding the molecular mechanism by which pathogenic bacteria cause disease in plants using diverse suites of type III effector proteins.

Dangl has made significant contributions to the understanding of plant defense from pathogens and the molecular basis of the innate immune response in plants. For these and other important contributions to the field of molecular-plant interactions and following an internal vote process by the IS-MPMI Board of Directors, Dangl was elected as the recipient of the 2009 award.