The ground-breaking career of Professor Dame Caroline Dean FRS has been recognised with the prestigious Barbara McClintock Prize for Plant Genetics and Genome Studies.
The international award is made to outstanding plant scientists working on genetics and genomics.
“I am thrilled and honoured to receive this award in recognition of the work of my group at the John Innes Centre over many years,” said Caroline.
Caroline’s distinguished career has addressed two central questions in biology: why do certain plants have to pass though winter before they bloom and how do they remember that they have been exposed to cold temperatures weeks or months earlier.?
Over the past two decades the Dean group has studied FLC the gene that regulates vernalisation in plants as a powerful platform to make a series of discoveries in epigenetics – this study of heritable traits that are not explained by changes in the DNA sequence.
The nomination for the award notes: “This work is one of the best examples of plant biology having paved the way for subsequent studies in animal and human biology,” adding, “Dean is not only an amazing scientist. She is also very generous when it comes to advancing the interests of the community at large.”
The award is made in memory of the many contributions of Dr. Barbara McClintock, one of the foremost women scientists in 20th Century America.
Dr. McClintock (1902-1992) is most noted for her pioneering research on transposable elements in maize. For this work she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983. She was the third woman to receive an unshared Nobel Prize in the sciences.
Made annually by the Maize Genetics Cooperation, the McClintock prize is reserved for the most creative minds and productive scientists in the study of genome structure, function and evolution, including the analysis of gene regulation and epigenetics in any plant system.
The award for Caroline is the latest in a distinguished career. Earlier this year she was awarded the Mendel Medal by the Genetics Society. The McClintock Prize will be presented to Professor Dean at the 66th Annual Maize Genetics Meeting in February 2024.
Other awards received by Caroline include: the Wolf Prize in Agriculture (2020), Royal Medal (2020), American Academy Arts & Science (2020), Novartis prize, Biochemistry Society (2019), L’Oréal-UNESCO European Laureate (2018), Royal Society Darwin Medal, (2016), FEBS-EMBO Woman in Science (2015), Foreign Member of the National Academy of Sciences (2008), Genetics Society Medal (2007), Fellow of the Royal Society (2004), EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organisation) Member (1999).