UF/IFAS professor wins prize for plant pathology work
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — UF/IFAS professor Jeff Jones will receive the 11th Jakob Eriksson Prize for Plant Pathology at an international academic gathering in Beijing in August.
The prize is among the most important awards given to plant pathologists and brings with it a gold medal, to be given at the International Congress of Plant Pathology. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences administers the Jakob Eriksson Prize fund.
The award was established in 1923 to honor Jakob Eriksson, a Swedish mycologist and plant pathologist and to encourage creative study of plant pathogens and the processes of disease development in plants. Eriksson strongly promoted cooperation between plant pathologists and his ideas were key to the International Society for Plant Pathology’s formation in 1968. Eriksson died in 1931.
Jones will be the 11th scientist to win the award. Another UF/IFAS professor, Ariena van Bruggen, was the seventh recipient.
Jones’ research focuses on the ecology and host-parasite interactions of bacterial plant pathogens. He is interested in plant pathogen variation as measured by phenotypic and genotypic analyses and much of his work has focused on bacterial spot disease in pepper and tomato. He is currently working to use genetic techniques to identify genes involved in bacterial-plant interactions and is studying microbe interactions on plant surfaces and in plant tissue to find mechanisms that affect microbe fitness.
He is developing a novel way to genetically modify citrus trees in an effort to make them more resistant to Asiatic citrus canker, a major citrus disease worldwide. Jones obtained a patent for this invention, and published an article about it in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Jones has twice been named a UF Research Foundation professor, became a fellow of the American Phytopathological Society in 2001 and is considered an outstanding teacher. Jones holds a bachelor’s degree in botany from the University of Massachusetts, a master’s and doctorate in plant pathology from Virginia Tech. He has been with UF/IFAS since 1981.