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Featured Profile: James Birchler

James Birchler

Dr. James “Jim” Birchler’s work is focused on solving global issues that affect all people.

Birchler has devoted most of his life to plant genetics, with groundbreaking research to show for it. He is among the world’s most highly regarded cytogeneticists: scientists who study the structure and function of cells, especially the chromosomes. Birchler is consistently working toward more fully understanding and developing solutions to issues such as drought, fuel shortage and world hunger.

Birchler’s research interests include the structure and behavior of chromosomes and related subjects. He studies fruit flies as well as corn to gain a deeper understanding of these topics. One of his most notable achievements is the creation of a synthetic maize chromosome that can be outfitted with genes for biofuel production, drought tolerance or other valuable properties.

Birchler has garnered numerous awards. He is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences and has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2014, he was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors and in 2017, he was named SEC Professor of the Year.

Dr. James Birchler is a member of MU’s Interdisciplinary Plant Group and Curators Professor of Biological Sciences in the College of Arts and Science.

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Related Initiative(s):
Food for the Future, Sustainable Energy,