Distinguished Professor Carrington to head Danforth Plant Science Center

James Carrington

James Carrington, a distinguished professor and director of the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing at Oregon State University, has accepted a new position as president of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Mo.

The Danforth Center is the world’s largest independent research institute dedicated to plant science, with more than 200 employees, 80 doctoral-level researchers and a $20 million annual budget. Carrington will begin the position in May, 2011.

Carrington, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, is an international leader in the study of “small RNA” in genetic regulation. He received his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley and has been on the OSU faculty since 2001. He is a fellow of several major science organizations and has received multiple career honors and awards.

In a major research program that has received millions of dollars in grant support from the National Institutes of Health and other agencies, Carrington has led OSU studies on such topics as how genes are “silenced” through a natural mechanism involving tiny RNA. His and other research has shown how animals, plants and other organisms use small RNAs and gene silencing to control growth, development, and defense against viruses.

In 2002, the research on small RNAs was cited by the journal Science as the scientific “Breakthrough of the Year.”

At OSU, Carrington has also led efforts to expand the work of the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing. It has been a leader in developing the powerful new tools of computational biology, attracted other internationally recognized scientists and now has more than 100 OSU faculty involved in its activities. Research is being done in such fields as health, better use of natural and agricultural resources, environmental protection, and development of new bio-based products and energy sources.

“Jim Carrington is an exceptional colleague, brilliant scientist and wonderful friend,” said OSU President Ed Ray. “All of us at Oregon State University are proud of his many accomplishments and contributions to our mission. The presidency of the Danforth Plant Science Center recognizes Jim’s many skills and accomplishments. We wish him great success in his new position and hope that he can help colleagues here foster collaborative ties with the Danforth Center.”

Lynda Ciuffetti, chair of the OSU Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, and also a member of the Oregon Board of Higher Education, said, “The Danforth Center is very fortunate, indeed.

“We are grateful for all that Jim has done for our department and for the broader research community at OSU,” Ciuffetti said. “We all have benefited tremendously from his vision and the exceptional contributions he has made toward the impact and national reputation of the Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing.”

The Danforth Plant Science Center is the largest independent, not-for-profit plant research organization in the United States. It was founded 12 years ago through the vision of former Washington University Chancellor Bill Danforth, the Danforth Foundation and other key partners. It conducts research on improving crop agriculture, environmental preservation, biofuels, plant science and other areas.

~ Dave Stauth

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