Two Illinois alumni named World Food Prize laureates

Two University of Illinois alumni have been awarded the 2013 World Food Prize.

The 2013 World Food Prize is the foremost international award recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.

Biotechnology scientists Mary-Dell Chilton, who received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Illinois, and Robert T. Fraley, who received his Ph.D. in Microbiology/Biochemistry from Illinois, will share the honor and the $250,000 cash prize with the third winner, Marc Van Montagu of Belgium. 

Chilton, founder and distinguished fellow of Syngenta Biotechnology, established one of the world’s first industrial agricultural biotechnology programs, leading applied research in disease and insect resistance, as well as continuing to improve transformation systems in crop plants. She has spent the last three decades overseeing the implementation of the new technology she developed and further improving it to be used in the introduction of new and novel genes into plants.

Fraley is currently executive vice president and chief technology officer for Monsanto. He has played a key role in the company’s choice of research directions that led to viable finished products, and the technical and business strategy that ensured wide availability and benefit to farmers of all sizes around the world. He has especially championed making biotechnology accessible to small-holder farmers.

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