Felix Fritschi, C. Alice Donaldson Professor in Bioenergy Crop Physiology and Genetics in the Division of Plant Sciences, received the Distinguished Research Award during CAFNR’s 2020 virtual Celebration of Excellence awards celebration.
Fritschi has published more than 100 refereed papers throughout his academic career and received more than 70 funded research grants, from entities such as USDA-AFRI, NSF, United Soybean Board and MSMC. Fritschi is part of several large grants, including one worth $15 million from the Department of Energy related to climate adaption in switchgrass. Fritschi has also had a major impact on graduate student and postdoctoral education, with 11 current graduate students (14 graduated) and seven current postdoctoral associates (20 former).
Fritschi earned a degree from the Swiss College of Agriculture, in Zollikofen, Switzerland, before receiving his master’s degree in agronomy from the University of Florida. He received his PhD in plant biology from the University of California, Davis. Fritschi joined the University of Missouri as an assistant professor in the Division of Plant Sciences in 2007. He became an associate professor in 2013 and a professor in 2017. He has been the C. Alice Donaldson Professor in Bioenergy Crop Physiology and Genetics since 2018.
“Felix is committed to studying pressing questions of relevance to crop improvement for farmers,” said Bob Sharp, Curators’ Distinguished Professor in the Division of Plant Sciences. “Accordingly, he focuses on the experimentally challenging field environment, and tackles demanding problems including a prominent effort in root system development. His program includes a diversity of crops including maize, soybean, and switchgrass, reflecting both an aggressive funding approach and a long-term goal to gain broad understanding of crop improvement strategies. His interests focus on the vital topics of drought and heat tolerance, and water and nutrient use efficiencies. Of particular note, Felix established several automated ‘rainout shelters’ to control drought imposition in the field. This facility, funded in 2009 by a $1.5 million grant from the Missouri Life Sciences Research Board (notably, the top-ranked proposal), provides vital infrastructure for several major team-based grants.”