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Closeup of Jeff Dangl surrounded by plants.
Jeff Dangl (courtesy of HHMI)

Jeff Dangl, the John N. Couch Distinguished Professor of Biology and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, recently received the Philip N. Benfey lifetime achievement award from the Arabidopsis Community in recognition of his work on plant immunity and plant-microbe interactions.

Dangl is a renowned expert in the genetics of plant-pathogen interactions and a pioneer in exploring the plant-associated microbiome. Last year, the Royal Society, the U.K.’s national academy of sciences, elected him as a foreign member to the society, and he is on the international Clarivate list of highly cited researchers, meaning he is ranked as in the top 1% of researchers in his field.

The Arabidopsis Community performs research using Arabidopsis thaliana, which according to the group is a pervasive, nondescript mustard relative that is the best-studied plant species on earth. Thousands of researchers across the world rely on Arabidopsis to study how plants grow and develop, photosynthesize, produce nutrients or withstand stress and pathogens.

Dangl was one of five recipients of the inaugural lifetime achievement award, which is named for Benfey, a world-renowned Arabidopsis scientist and professor at Duke University, who died unexpectedly in 2023.

“Philip Benfey was a dear friend and colleague, so this recognition is especially meaningful to me,” said Dangl. Benfey was also an HHMI investigator.

The award also honored Dangl for his mentorship of a generation of biologists who worked in his lab. Together with his wife, Sarah Grant, emeritus faculty in biology, he mentored and trained more than 100 postdocs and graduate students, many of whom continue in plant sciences as independent investigators across the world.

For more information about the lifetime achievement award and other honorees, visit the Arabidopsis Community website.







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