Detlef Weigel,  Director and Professor of Molecular Biology at the Max Plank Institute for Developmental Biology, Tuebingen


Detlef Weigel (Max Plank Institute for Developmental Biology, Tuebingen) has been awarded the GSA Medal for his outstanding contributions to the field of genetics in the last 15 years.

“Detlef’s blend of biology, genetics, and genomics technology has been key to many advances at the intersection of modern plant developmental and evolutionary biology”, said Joanne Chory, Professor and Director of Plant Molecular and Cellular Biology at the Salk institute for Biological Studies, who was one of those nominating Weigel for this honor. “In addition to his tireless service to our community, Detlef is a wonderful colleague whose presence makes everyone’s science excel.”

Using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, Dr. Weigel has contributed to three major areas related to flowering: the identification of early events in flower development; dissections of the molecular basis for floral patterns; and the determination of mechanisms for natural flowering time. Notably his group identified florigen, a compound made in leaves that induces flowering. Throughout these investigations, Weigel developed multiple resources for the plant genomics community including activation tagging to create gain of function mutants; leading a consortium that produced AtGenExpress, a gene expression atlas for Arabidopsis; and spearheading with colleagues from the US and Europe the 1001 Genomes project for Arabidopsis thaliana.  The genomic tools his research group has created have facilitated biological breakthroughs in the plant science community and beyond. In his most recent work, Dr. Weigel is integrating genomics approaches with large-scale crossing schemes to study the genes that regulate a suite of adaptive plant traits.

Weigel has received an NSF Young Investigator Award (1994), the Charles Albert Shull Award from the American Society of Plant Biologists (2001), the Otto Bayer Award from the Bayer Foundation (2010), and the Mendel Medal of the Leopoldina (2015). He is a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science and a member of the Heidelberg Academy of Science and Humanities, German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, European Molecular Biology Organization, Royal Society of London, and the US National Academy of Sciences.

Jeff Dangl, HHMI-GBMF Plant Science Investigator at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill noted that, “his deep rooted understanding of genetics and his technological creativity both drive and serve an exceptionally broad and fearless palette of interesting and important biology.”

The Genetics Society of America Medal is awarded to an individual member of the Society for outstanding contributions to the field of genetics in the last 15 years. Recipients of the GSA Medal are recognized for elegant and highly meaningful contributions to modern genetics within the recent history of the field; awardees exemplify the ingenuity of the GSA membership.

To learn more about the GSA awards, and to view a list of previous recipients, please see http://www.genetics-gsa.org/awards.

Chloe Poston is the Policy and Communications Manager for the Genetics Society of America where she serves as a liaison to the Public Policy Committee. She has a background in bio-analytical chemistry and science policy.

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