Dario Grattapaglia named Forest biotechnologist of the year 2016
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Photo: Claudio Bezerra
Dr. Dario Grattapaglia, senior scientist of EMBRAPA Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, has been named 2016 Forest Biotechnologist of the Year by the Institute of Forest Biosciences (IFB)
Dr. Dario Grattapaglia, senior scientist of EMBRAPA Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, has been named 2016 Forest Biotechnologist of the Year by the Institute of Forest Biosciences (IFB). His expertise in the areas of forest applied genomics and biotechnology earned him the prestigious international award.
His peers within the Forest Biotechnology Partnership, an international group of forestry and biotechnology professionals, selected Grattapaglia as the eighth scientist and the first one in the southern hemisphere to win this award, which recognizes the forest biotechnologist who best exemplifies responsible uses of forest biotechnology and actively promotes science, dialogue and stewardship through his or her work. Grattapaglia received the award during the Conference of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO Tree Biotechnology), which took place between June 4 and 9 in Concepción, Chile.
According to Dr. Ronald Sederoff, retired, Co-Director, Forest Biotechnology Group, North Carolina State University, “When Dario came to work in our group, it was immediately clear that he was a natural leader, and destined to make great contributions to Forest Genetics. He invented the pseudo test cross for forest trees, which made possible genetic analysis of quantitative traits of individual trees. He was also a lead investigator for the Eucalyptus grandis genome project. He is highly deserving of the distinction of Forest Biotechnologist of the Year.”
The award was established in 2009 by the Institute of Forest Biosciences (IFB), a US-based non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting dialogue on the responsible use of biotechnology in the forest area through scientific and social actions in the pursuit of sustainable use of forests for the future. Since 2009, seven world-renowned scientists from five countries have been awarded the prize (https://forestbio.org/IFB/forest-biotechnologist-of-the-year/). Starting in 2017, the IFB award will be given every two years.
Grattapaglia’s scientific career, has focused on forest tree genetics and breeding of sustainable forest tree plantations for energy, pulp, paper and fiber, genomic technologies applied to breeding practice, and population genetics and conservation of tropical tree species. Some of the highlights include the leadership of the GENOLYPTUS project, between 2002 and 2008, a public-private Brazilian network of Eucalyptus genomic research involving 21 public and private organizations. That project established the foundations that currently support routine operational applications of DNA marker technologies in tree breeding and deployment of fast growing eucalypts by several pulp, paper and steel industries in Brazil and abroad. Between 2008 and 2014, he acted as co-principal investigator of the International Eucalyptus
Genome Sequencing Project that culminated with the publication of the Eucalyptus genome sequence in the journal Nature. He has trained over 40 graduate students, published over 130 scientific articles or book chapters, and served as expert consultant to several funding agencies in Brazil and worldwide, including USDA Plant Genome, NSF, DoE, Genome Canada, French National Research Agency and Australian Research Council. In 2012, he was elected fellow to the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.
Adam Costanza, President of the IFB, said that “Dr. Dario Grattapaglia’s research and outreach efforts have been pivotal in promoting the effective use of DNA marker data in sustainable forestry breeding practices. I’m happy to see his peers selected him to receive this award because his work exemplifies the science, dialogue, and stewardship in forest biosciences that we strive for at the IFB.”
Get to know the awardee better
Dario was born in Italy in 1962 and moved to Brazil with his family in 1974. He graduated in Forest Engineering from the University of Brasília (UnB) in 1985, and received his PhD in Genetics with a co-major in Forestry from North Carolina State University in 1994 under Prof. Ronald Sederoff. After a short period as professor at the State University of São Paulo, he moved as research scientist to Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology, where he has been developing research at the interface of applied plant genetics, breeding and genomics of forest tree species and perennial fruit crops since 1994. He has also acted as supervisor of graduate students in plant molecular biology at the University of Brasilia since 1996 and as professor in the graduate program of Genomic Sciences and Biotechnology at the Catholic University of Brasilia since 2000. In 2016 he was appointed as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University.
Fernanda Diniz (MTb 4685/DF)
Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology
Phone number: (61) 3448-4768
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