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Salk scientist Joseph Ecker, appointed as HHMI-GBMF Investigator
Date:6/16/2011

LA JOLLA, CAPlant biologist Joseph R. Ecker, Ph.D., professor and director of the Genomic Analysis Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, has been selected for a prestigious position as an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF).

"Joe Ecker is highly deserving of this recognition, which is reserved for a select group of extraordinary scientists," said Salk president William R. Brody. "HHMI and GBMF have made a bold move into plant biology." Brody continued, "This enhanced focus and appreciation for plant biology has the potential to help us understand and find solutions to critical issues of world hunger, human health, and environmental sustainability. Joe personifies scientific leadership, which is inherent in all HHMI-GBMF appointments. Moreover, Joe's appointment highlights the strength of our world class plant biology program at the Salk."

Plant biology has been somewhat of an afterthought in the United States, with only approximately 2 percent of federally funded scientific research dedicated in this area. The commitment of collaboration and recognition from HHMI and GBMF may begin to level the playing field for plant biology.

"Joe is a true leader in the plant field and his work cuts across the entire scientific spectrum. Important discoveries have been made by plant scientists and it will be exciting to see what future findings will arise from the research," said Jack Dixon, HHMI Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer. "Plant research is of great importance to the physical and economic health of our country with extraordinary potential to influence medicine, food production and energy -- we are excited about this new effort at HHMI and our partnership with GBMF."

Ecker is internationally recognized for his pioneering contributions to plant genomics. Early on, he advocated for the mapping and sequencing of the genome of the
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Contact: Kat Kearney
Kkearney@salk.edu
858-453-4100 x1226
Salk Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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