The following awardees will be recognized and celebrated at the 2023 IS-MPMI Congress.
Outstanding Achievement Award
This award recognizes an investigator who has a high international reputation as a research leader for groundbreaking and original research in the area of molecular plant-microbe interactions. The award also recognizes their strong commitment to one or more activities that advance the IS-MPMI field, including teaching, mentoring, educational outreach, international collaborations, service to the community, and/or advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.
Jonathan D.G. Jones (JJ) studies how plants resist disease, and how pathogens circumvent host immune mechanisms. After a PhD in cereal genetics at the Plant Breeding Institute, Cambridge, UK, JJ postdoc’d with 2014 Awardee Fred Ausubel at Harvard on symbiotic nitrogen fixation, where he discovered his love for MPMI and attended the first MPMI meeting in Bielefeld in 1982. JJ then worked on Agrobacterium engineering at US agbiotech company, AGS, where he refined methods to express transgenes at high levels and to study and exploit plant transposons. In 1988, JJ started at the Sainsbury Laboratory (TSL), Norwich UK, serving as Head of TSL 1994-7 and 2003-2009. He was elected EMBO member (1998), Fellow of Royal Society (2003) and International Member of the US NAS (2015). In 2012 he won the U Minnesota EC Stakman award, in 2015 gave the Cornell Whetzel-Westcott-Dimock Seminar and in 2021 was awarded Honorary Member of British Society for Plant Pathology. He (with 2009 awardee Jeff Dangl) promoted the guard hypothesis for indirect recognition of pathogen effectors by host immune receptors, and also the “zigzagzig” conceptual framework that first integrated the distinct defenses initiated by immune receptors that detect extracellular or intracellular pathogen-derived molecules. He was among the first to show that integrated decoy domains in paired NLRs mimic authentic pathogen effector targets. He pioneered genomics methods, notably “RenSeq”, to accelerate Resistance gene cloning and analysis of plant immune receptor diversity and evolution. He is a strong advocate for using immune receptor genes from wild relatives to replace crop protection agrochemicals with genetics for disease control.
Early Career Achievement Award
This award recognizes an outstanding investigator who is known internationally as an emerging research leader in the area of molecular plant-microbe interactions.
Cara Haney is an Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in plant-microbiome interactions in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at the University of British Columbia. Cara has a long history of working in plant-microbe interactions and involvement in the IS-MPMI community; she has been a member of IS-MPMI since 2004 and is currently a senior editor of the MPMI journal. Her first lab experience was as an undergraduate in Dr. William Fry’s lab at Cornell studying late blight infection of potato and tomato. She went on to complete her PhD from Stanford University focused on rhizobia-legume symbiosis with Dr. Sharon Long. Prior to joining the UBC faculty, Cara was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School with Dr. Fred Ausubel. Her lab uses Arabidopsis-Pseudomonas fluorescens as a genetically tractable model to identify the genetic basis of beneficial traits in plant-microbiome interactions. Her research focuses on elucidating basic mechanisms in host-microbiome interactions, and in finding sustainable solutions for agronomically important challenges.
Xiufang Xin got her bachelor's degree in biology at China Agricultural University in 2008. She then went to Michigan State University in USA for Ph.D. study and joined Dr. Sheng Yang He’s lab. After getting her doctoral degree in 2014, she stayed at Michigan State University for postdoc training and her research during that period led to the discovery that Pseudomonas syringae pathogen takes advantage of high air humidity and type III effectors to generate a water-rich living environment in the infected leaf tissue to promote infection (Xin et al., Nature 2016). Xiufang went back to China and joined Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai, to start her own group in 2017. She is also affiliated to the joint program of CAS-John Innes Centre, Centre of Excellence for Plant and Microbial Sciences (CEPAMS). Her lab is interested in understanding the triangular interactions between plant, pathogen and environment, including molecular interplay between plant immunity and pathogen virulence, as well as air humidity influence on plant-microbe interactions in the phyllosphere.