UK Plant Scientist Receives International Award

6th Dec 2010

Professor Sophien Kamoun of The Sainsbury Laboratory has been jointly awarded a prestigious Daiwa Adrian Prize by The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation for his work on the interactions between plants and disease-causing pathogens.

Daiwa Adrian Prizes are awarded by The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation on a triennial basis in recognition of significant scientific collaboration between British and Japanese research teams.  Prof Kamoun shares his award with Dr Ryohei Terauchi of the Iwate Biotechnology Research Center in Japan.  The groups have collaborated on projects that are using genomics to get a better understanding of the interactions between plants and pathogens, as a way of bringing plant diseases under control.

Professor Kamoun and Dr Terauchi will receive their prize at an awards ceremony to be held at the Royal Society on the 2nd December 2010.

“I am delighted by this recognition of our long-standing collaboration with the laboratory of Dr. Terauchi. The collaboration has been extremely productive both at the technical and intellectual levels. Our complementary work on the potato blight disease in the UK and rice blast in Japan addresses the main causes of crop failure of two of the three most important food crops in the world. The knowledge gained on the mechanisms of pathogenicity and plant immunity can be used to improve the breeding and deployment of disease resistant varieties of these important crop plants.”

Prof Kamoun’s research group are world leaders in the study of effectors, proteins produced by pathogens that affect the plants immunity and so let the pathogen colonize the plant and reproduce.  The group’s long-term objective is to dissect the molecular mechanisms that enable filamentous pathogens, such as the potato blight pathogen Phytopthora infestans, to successfully infect plants.

The Sainsbury Laboratory on the Norwich Research Park conducts world-leading research on the interactions between plants and microbes and viruses.  It receives most of its funding from the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, one of The Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts and is also closely linked to the John Innes Centre and the University of East Anglia.

Following an assessment conducted by a panel of Fellows of the Royal Society, the Trustees of The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation awarded six Daiwa Adrian Prizes of £10,000 to joint UK-Japan scientific research teams.  The awards were established in 1992 and subsequently renamed to commemorate the late Lord Adrian, a founding Trustee of the Foundation, at whose initiative the Prizes were established.

Since their launch, £405,000 in Prizes has been awarded to 51 different institutions, 26 from the UK and 25 from Japan – recognising cross-cultural collaboration and reflecting the breadth and diversity of scientific achievement by scientists in the two countries.  Previous Daiwa Adrian Prizes have supported new frontiers in areas as diverse as antibiotics research, plasma physics, aerospace exploration and asthma research.

Further information about Daiwa Adrian Prizes and the application form are available from www.dajf.org.uk/dap 

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