Professor Wins Plant Biology Award

Julia Bailey-Serres will receive the Stephen Hales Prize from the American Society of Plant Biologists in June

Julia Bailey-Serres standing in front of flowers

Julia Bailey-Serres, a distinguished professor of genetics at UC Riverside.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Julia Bailey-Serres, a distinguished professor of genetics at University of California, Riverside, has been awarded the Stephen Hales Prize for 2017 from the American Society of Plant Biologists. She will receive the award at the ASPB Plant Biology conference in Hawaii in June.

Bailey-Serres’ research group studies the sensing, signaling and acclimation responses to low oxygen stress in plants. Her multidisciplinary approach combines genetic, molecular, biochemical and bioinformatic technologies and has significant implications for agricultural and global food challenges.

She played a key role in the discovery and characterization of a gene that allows rice to survive underwater. That gene has subsequently been introduced through breeding by the International Rice Research Institute and others, creating flood-tolerant rice varieties that are grown by more than five million farmers in flood-prone areas of Asia.

Bailey-Serres also serves as director of UC Riverside’s Center for Plant Cell Biology (CEPCEB), which addresses significant questions in plant biology on a molecular level to meet global challenges such as improved nutrition, increased crop yield, resistance to pests, and sustainable biofuels.

A National Academy of Science member, she joins fellow CEPCEB National Academy members and Stephen Hales Prize recipients Susan Wessler and Natasha Raikhel in holding these two honors.

The Stephen Hales Prize honors the Reverend Stephen Hales for his pioneering work in plant biology published in his 1727 book Vegetable Staticks. The award was established in 1927 for an American Society of Plant Biologists member who has served the science of plant biology in a noteworthy manner.

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