Texas Tech Names Winner of $1 Million Research Grant Competition
December 14, 2007
A group of researchers working on sequencing the cotton genome has won the 2007 Texas
Tech Research Development Fund Competition.
A group of researchers working on sequencing the cotton genome has won the 2007
Texas Tech Research Development Fund Competition.
Thea Wilkins, Bayer Crop Science Regents Professor in Genomics, leads a group of seven
co-principal investigators on the project which won the $999,000 grant.
"It is vital that Texas Tech find ways to support its own researchers," said Dean
Smith, vice president for research. "Texas Tech is making a major effort to increase
its research capacity. By creating internal incentives such as this grant program,
we are telling scientists that Texas Tech is serious about supporting our researchers
and their projects."
The grant program is in its second year and is meant to enhance the research efforts
of university scientists. Researchers from across the campus submitted 40 proposals
requesting a total of $21.3 million in this year’s competition. Independent reviewers
looked at the applications and made recommendations to Smith. The grant money comes
from the Research Development Fund, which was created by the Texas Legislature to
support research activities in higher education.
"I know that choosing among the many incredible research projects that were submitted
was a difficult task for our reviewers," said Jon Whitmore, Texas Tech president.
"Finding a genome sequence would be a major accomplishment for any researcher. Dr.
Wilkins and her co-investigators are in a position to make great headway in this area."
The cotton genomics research team also includes from the Department of Plant and Soil
Science: Eric Hequet, research associate professor; Noureddine Abidi, research assistant
professor; Robert Wright, assistant professor; Dick Auld, Rockwell Professor of Plant
and Soil Science; Randy Allen, professor; and Craig Bednarz, associate professor.
Gregory May, program leader for the National Center for Genome Resources in Santa
Fe is also a member of the team.
Texas Tech and the National Center for Genome Resources signed an agreement in September
that will in part establish a framework for specific areas of cooperation in genome
sequencing and genome analysis.
"The impact of having the cotton genome sequence cannot be overestimated," said Wilkins.
"Once a genome sequence is found, we can take basic laboratory research and get new
cotton varieties into the hands of growers at a significantly accelerated rate. This
discovery would open the way for novel applications to utilize cotton as an important
renewable resource for food, fuel and fiber."
CONTACT: Dean Smith, Texas Tech vice president for research, at (806) 742-3905 or
via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.