Plant pathologist Guo-Liang Wang, an international leader in rice genetics, received Ohio State’s 2019 Distinguished Scholar Award for his contributions to global food security.
The award, which includes a $20,000 research grant and a $3,000 honorarium, recognizes exceptional scholarly accomplishments by senior professors who have compiled a substantial body of research.
Wang, a CFAES professor since 1999, has produced pioneering insights into the resistance of crop plants to fungal and bacterial pathogens, specifically disease resistance in rice.
Rice is one of the most important crops on the planet, feeding half the world’s population. However, rice diseases hinder stable rice production worldwide. Various pathogenic microbes cause severe yield losses in epidemic years, leading to major financial hardships and starvation in many countries.
Several disease-resistant genes that Wang’s group mapped and cloned are now being widely used in Asia, Africa, and South America to develop rice cultivars that can resist devastating disease.
Wang mainly works with the bacterium that causes bacterial blight and the fungus that causes rice blast, two of the most serious and costly rice pathogens in many regions of the world. He began studying rice blast about 30 years ago as an undergraduate student in China.
He received his BS in plant genetics from Hunan Agricultural University in China, his MS in plant genetics and breeding from Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University, also in China, and his PhD in plant genetics and breeding from the University of the Philippines.
A prolific researcher and author, Wang is “the international go-to person for any advice or assistance with the molecular biology of host-plant resistance, especially with rice,” said Laurence Madden, professor and associate chair at CFAES’ Department of Plant Pathology. “This global recognition has clearly raised the profile of Ohio State plant pathology throughout the U.S. and the world.”
Janet Weisenberger, senior associate vice president at Ohio State’s Office of Research, noted that the Distinguished Scholar Award committee “was blown away by the quality, importance, and impact of Wang’s work. It is a well-deserved honor.”
BY THE NUMBERS
Only the second CFAES researcher to win the award
Number of book chapters published
Number of papers published in top-tier journals such as Science, Nature, Genetics, Cell Host & Microbe, PLoS Pathogens, Current Biology, PNAS, and The Plant Cell
Number of times his articles have been cited by other researchers, an indication of his impact on his research community
Total funding received over the past 19 years
Funding to directly support his lab from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Rockefeller Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Agency for International Development (in collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and industry