International honour for Prof. Jörg Kudla: The plant biologist of the University of Münster has been awarded as outstanding scientist by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the largest research institution in the world. The title "Distinguished Scientist" is awarded by the Academy to leading international scientists from a wide variety of disciplines as part of its "CAS President's International Fellowship Program". Once a year, a committee selects about 30 prize winners from more than 200 nominees nominated by the individual academy institutes. They come from all over the world and each receive prize money of around 6,000 euros, which they can use for their research activities in China.
Jörg Kudla received the award in particular for his research into the interaction of calcium and other signalling substances in crops and their role in plant stress tolerance. Stress factors can be heat and drought, for example. In addition, the Academy honoured another of his research topics, called De Novo Domestication, which facilitates the fast transformation of suitable wild plants species into novel crops with beneficial traits using molecular biological methods.
With this award, the Academy is pursuing the goal of advancing the international cooperation of its scientists. "On the other hand, we have a fantastic opportunity to expand our relations with the Academy's institutes," emphasizes Jörg Kudla. He has maintained close scientific cooperations with Chinese scientists for many years and has been a visiting professor at the China Agricultural University in Beijing since 2011.
In the course of the award, he has now completed a two-week research trip to China, as each prizewinner expects a tight programme with visits to several academy institutes: Jörg Kudla went to Beijing, to the Institute of Botany in the first week and to the Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology in the second week, where he gave lectures and discussed with local scientists and students. "Such invitations are a great and important opportunity to establish contacts with talented students and young scientists, as they are often followed by applications for a PhD or a research visit with us in Germany," says Jörg Kudla. The award will also define his laboratory in Münster a “target laboratory” to which young scientists from the Chinese Academy will in future also come to conduct research as guest scientists, financed by a special CAS scholarship programme.