Created in 2011, these awards recognize the remarkable contributions of postdoctoral research scholars to the UGA research enterprise. The UGA Research Foundation funds up to two awards a year to current scholars.
Alexandre Marand, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Genetics, has amassed impressive accomplishments while at UGA. He has published 14 peer-reviewed articles including a first-author paper in the prestigious journal Cell, won a National Science Foundation fellowship, and was recently awarded the Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institutes of Health. His Cell article was a landmark contribution to plant genomics. A major question in biology is how cellular diversity arises from an invariant DNA sequence. Marand applied single-cell sequencing technology to identify variable regulatory DNA sequences across thousands of individual cells. His work will help scientists rapidly find the crucial parts of DNA that control when and where a gene is expressed, accelerating understanding of the molecular events that underlie the development of plant structures. By establishing the first regulatory DNA blueprints of a major crop, Marand’s research lays the foundation for fine-tuning crop traits.