Ejeta to give Sigma Xi lecture on honored research

March 23, 2010

Gebisa Ejeta, Distinguished Professor of Agronomy and recipient of 2009 World Food Prize, will present a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecture at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday (March 24), discussing the research that gained him the award and has improved food supplies in his native Africa.

Ejeta has titled his talk "Out-witting the Witch: The Fascinating Biology of Witchweed (Striga) and its Genetic Control." The lecture will be in Fowler Hall, Stewart Center. A reception is to follow in the Stewart Center Gallery.

The World Food Prize is considered the "Nobel Prize" in agriculture. Ejeta, a plant breeder and geneticist, developed sorghum varieties resistant to drought and Striga, a parasitic weed. Sorghum is a major food crop for more than 500 million people on the African continent.

Ejeta's research areas include:
* Elucidate mechanisms of resistance to drought, Striga, and plant diseases in sorghum.
* Studying inheritance of traits associated with resistance to these traits.
* Characterizing genomic differences among botanical races and germplasm pools of sorghum.
* Development and enhancement of sorghum germplasm with increased levels of resistance to drought, Striga, and grain mold infection.

More about the prize announcement and the history of Ejeta's sorghum research is at www.purdue.edu/uns/x/2009a/090611EjetaFoodprize.html.

Sigma Xi is major research society of scientists and engineers. More about the society is at www.purdue.edu/research/sigmaxi/aboutus.shtml.