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Lifetime Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award for Rice Blast Research

Bharat Chattoo

Prof. Chattoo pioneered the molecular genetic and proteomic analyses of the rice-blast fungus towards understanding the natural variability in the blast populations. Prof. Chattoo's group discovered and characterized in detail several new transposable genetic elements in the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae; one of these, a SINE element, was reported for the first time in a lower eukaryote. He also analyzed the organization of repeated DNA sequences, leading to a better understanding of genomic flux in this fungus and a new PCR-based DNA fingerprinting method, now used internationally. His group contributed to the development of near-isogenic lines for mapping of dominant blast resistance genes, in collaboration with IRRI and the Rockefeller Foundation. His lab also pioneered the development of RAPD and SCAR techniques for molecular mapping and fingerprinting of such blast resistance genes. More importantly, since 1987 he has been an exemplary mentor and supervisor and has trained a number of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in Rice Blast research.

Eunjong Lee

As a plant pathologist, Dr. Eunjong Lee has made significant contributions to understanding pathology of the rice-blast fungus, and to development of control strategies against the rice blast disease by establishing a strong foundation for rice blast research in Korea. His contribution includes introduction of differential varieties for race identification, breeding of resistant rice varieties, establishment of disease control system, and systematization of resistant screening. In addition, he has devoted himself to managing and coordinating agricultural research in both academic and industrial sectors. He also helped build and improve research capacity in Rural Development Administration (RDA) in Korea as its administrator. His contribution to basic research and professional and administrational services to research communities were vital to greatly advancing the development of rice blast research in Korea.

Hei Leung

Dr. Leung, a Principal Scientist at IRRI, is one of the pioneering plant pathologists in molecular analysis of the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. In the last 30 years, he has made significant contributions to many areas of rice-pathogen interactions, including a genetic analysis of pathogenicity in the rice blast pathogen, the application of pathogen population biology to disease control, and the dissection of qualitative and quantitative disease resistance in rice. In addition, he has helped build research capacity in a number of research and breeding institutions in developing countries to enable them to develop better disease resistance varieties through the application of new knowledge in host-pathogen interactions and plant genomics. Through collaborative research and training, he has helped the National Research Systems in the developing countries to become proficient in the application of molecular marker technology for rice resistance breeding.