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Dr. Schmitz and Dr. Tsai on Team Receiving $15.8M to Modify Poplar for Bioproducts

Schmitz Tsai

A multidisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Georgia and two partner institutions have been awarded a $15.8 million grant over five years from the U.S. Department of Energy to reengineer poplar trees (Populus sp. and hybrids) to be used as a sustainable energy source.

The researchers will use state-of the-art biotechnology approaches to breed the trees as a multipurpose crop that can be used for bioenergy, biomaterial and bioproduct alternatives to petroleum-based materials. The grant is part of a larger $178 million DOE initiative to advance bioenergy technology.

The UGA grant will fund five projects involving Buell and UGA faculty collaborators including Wayne Parrott in the CAES Department of Crop and Soil SciencesChung-Jui Tsai and Bob Schmitz in the Department of Genetics; and Breeanna Urbanowicz in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, all in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. External collaborators are Patrick Shih at University of California, Berkeley, and Chris Dardick with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service.

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Professor, UGA Foundation Professorship in Plant Sciences, Lars G. Ljungdahl Distinguished Investigator, Ph.D. (2007) University of Wisconsin, Madison
Winfred N. "Hank" Haynes Professor, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, Ph.D. (1995) Michigan Technological University

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