J. Perry Gustafson, adjunct professor in the Division of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri, will be honored Feb. 5 by the University of Nottingham, UK, with a glasshouse complex named in his honor.
The approximately £1 million ($1.6 million) greenhouse facility recognizes Gustafson’s 40 years of research to improve world wheat production.
Gustafson’s research focuses on plant gene manipulation in cereals to increase quality and quantity of the crop. His studies include how chromosomes function, and how plant breeding and molecular techniques are used to manipulate genes from one species of cereals to another.
Gustafson is a member of MU’s Interdisciplinary Plant Group and was the world-wide chair of the 9th International Plant Molecular Biology Congress. Gustafson, who also served as a research geneticist in the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service before his retirement, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Colorado State University and his Ph.D. in plant genetics from the University of California, Davis.
“I feel I am sharing this honor with an additional 50-plus people whose names should be added to this facility,” Gustafson said. “This dedication is due to the pioneers that came before me, and those that I was lucky enough to meet and work with including MU plant researcher Ernie Sears, Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug and many others.”
Gustafson said the contribution of his research associate Kathleen Ross Dahlman cannot be stressed enough.
A University of Nottingham research priority is global food security, including crops for the future. It recently received a £2.2million research grant to use crop cytogenetics to study untapped reservoirs of genetic variation in wild varieties of wheat. Cytogenetics, which studies the structure and function of the cell, especially the chromosomes, is one of Gustafson’s research areas.
The university is located in Nottingham, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Ningbo, China. Nottingham is a research-led institution. Alumni of the university have been awarded two Nobel Prizes this decade. Nottingham is also among the top four universities in Britain in research income received, being awarded over £150 million in research contracts for the 2009–2010 academic year.
In 2011, Nottingham had 30,370 full-time students and 2,735 full-time staff based on its UK campuses.