Maize Community Awards: Past Winners

Mid-Career Award

Early-Career Award

The MGEC is pleased to present the 2017 Mid-career Maize Genetics Research award to Dr. Paula McSteen. Dr. McSteen received her B.A. from the University of Dublin Trinity College and her Ph.D from the Plant Developmental Genetics University of East Anglia John Innes Center, Norwich, UK. Dr. McSteen's laboratory provided the first genetic evidence that auxin is synthesized from tryptophan in a two-step process in maize. Her lab has also contributed to two Plant Cell papers detailing the role of thiamine in maize development, and a particularly novel discovery that the element boron is involved with meristem development. With support from the NSF, she is currently collaborating with the Kellogg lab to understand the mechanism by which maize makes paired rows of kernels while other grasses such as wheat, rice, and barley make single rows. Her lab has identified a genetic mechanism for the development of a new meristem type through identification of a mutant defective in meristem maintenance. In addition to her research contributions, Dr. McSteen served on the steering committees for the Maize Genetics Conference from 2009-2012 and has served as treasurer from 2010-2017.

The MGEC is pleased to present the 2017 Early Career Maize Genetics Research award to Dr. Candice Hirsch. Dr. Hirsch obtained her B.S. and Ph.D from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her work uses genomics, classical genetics, and analysis of natural variation to characterize the genetic basis of phenotypic variation in maize, and applies that information to improving maize cultivars. She has been an author or co-author on 34 papers since 2010. Her research has included documenting maize presence-absence variation, and analyzing genetic variation associated with long-term selection for seed size. Her work on presence-absence variation included anaylsis of transcriptome variation in 500 maize inbred lines and she led the effort to perform a de novo assembly and analysis of PH207. This work, recently published at The Plant Cell highlights the variability in gene presence among maize inbred lines and will provide an extremely valuable resource for the analysis of how structural variation impacts gene expression and phenotype.
The MGEC is pleased to present the 2016 Mid-career Maize Genetics Research award to Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra. Dr. Ross-Ibarra obtained his BA and MS from UC Riverside and performed his PhD research at the University of Georgia. Dr. Ross-Ibarra was a post-doctoral researcher with Brandon Gaut at the University of California-Irvine. Dr. Ross-Ibarra has been a faculty member in the Department of Plant Sciences since 2009. His lab has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of population genetics and domestication, improvement and local adaptation in maize. Dr. Ross-Ibarra's group has been a part of over 40 publications since 2009. Dr. Ross-Ibarra has been awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers 2009 and the DuPont Young Professor Award 2012.

The MGEC is pleased to present the 2016 Early Career Maize Genetics Research award to Dr. Michael Gore. Dr. Gore received a BS and MS from Virginia Tech and performed his PhD research with Dr. Ed Buckler at Cornell University. Dr. Gore began his independent research career at the USDA Arid-Land Agricultural Research Center in Maricopa AZ 2009-2013 and then moved to the Plant Breeding and Genetics program at Cornell University as an Associate Professor in 2013. Dr. Gore has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of diversity and quantitative trait analysis in maize. He has a research program on basic and applied aspects of provitamin A carotenoid and vitamin E content in maize grain and is very active in the development and application of field-based plant phenotyping systems. He has received the National Association of Plant Breeders Early Career Scientist award in 2012 and the American Society of Plant Biologists Early Career award in 2013.