Distinguished Research Professor 2019
John Burke, professor in the Department of Plant Biology, is a world leader in fusing traditional evolutionary analyses with state-of-the-art genomic approaches in plant domestication research. His research has increased understanding of the genetics and genomics of crop domestication, the critical role of hybridization in plant evolution, and the risks associated with crop-wild gene flow. In his studies of sunflowers and related species (Helianthus species complex), he has examined the molecular and phenotypic evolution of crop plants and the potential for such research to inform modern breeding efforts. Burke has advanced knowledge of the genomic basis of how plants respond to stressful environmental conditions and how hybridization can facilitate such adaptation. These insights, along with the tools and genomic resources that he has developed, represent major contributions to the discipline. In addition, his research on gene flow and introgression is widely recognized as significant in the growing field of risk assessment of genetically engineered crops.
- Creative Research Medal 2013