Huaijun Zhou, University of California, Davis, received the 2023 NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences.

Zhou’s key contributions have significantly improved our fundamental understanding of livestock and poultry genomes. His research has had a major impact on selection and breeding of food animals for production efficiency and disease resistance, helping to address critical issues of food insecurity and global climate change.

Zhou’s work examines animal and poultry genomes to better elucidate genetic disease resistance to bacterial and viral infections such as avian influenza, Newcastle disease, and Salmonella. His discoveries have generated critical insights into genetic mechanisms associated with increased productivity and resilience to heat stress and disease in livestock and informed genetic improvement in poultry to address food insecurity in low- and middle-income countries.

Zhou is the Program Director of USAID-sponsored project Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Genomics to Improve Poultry, serving as a mentor for next-generation scientists in areas of need in the U.S. and developing countries.

The NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences recognizes research by a mid-career scientist (defined as up to 20 years since completion of PhD) at a U.S. institution who has made an extraordinary contribution to agriculture or to the understanding of the biology of a species fundamentally important to agriculture or food production. For the purpose of the prize, areas of science with applications to agriculture include plant and animal sciences, microbiology, nutrition and food science, soil science, entomology, veterinary medicine, and agricultural economics. The recipient will be awarded a medal and a $100,000 prize. The prize is endowed through generous gifts from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


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