Plant biologist Joseph R. Ecker, Ph.D., professor and director of the Genomic Analysis Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, has been selected as an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (GBMF).
Only 15 investigators were selected from the 239 plant scientists who applied for the competition, chosen on the basis of individual scientific excellence. With Joe Ecker's appointment, three plant biologists at the Salk will have HHMI appointments.
As an HHMI-GBMF investigator, Ecker will continue to explore the most creative scientific ideas in his field. "In my view, our next challenge is to bring cell biology to the genome, or more precisely, to enable genomics at the level of individual cells," he stated.
"Joe Ecker is highly deserving of this recognition, which is reserved for a select group of extraordinary scientists," said Salk president William R. Brody. "HHMI and GBMF have made a bold move into plant biology. … This enhanced focus and appreciation for plant biology has the potential to help us understand and find solutions to critical issues of world hunger, human health, and environmental sustainability.
He added that the “appointment highlights the strength of our world class plant biology program at the Salk."