USDA Rice Scientist Wins Early Career
Award By Ben
February 7, 2001
Stuttgart, Ark., Feb. 7Thomas H. Tai, a rice
geneticist with the U.S. Department of Agricultures
Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
here, has won an agency award for his scientific leadership in molecular
ARS named Tai as an Early Career Research Scientist of
2000. Since joining the ARS Dale Bumpers National Rice Research
Center (DB NRRC) here in 1999, Tai has applied his molecular genetics
expertise to several issues of interest to the U.S. rice industry--yield, grain
quality, pest resistance and stress tolerance.
He now spearheads the ARS rice functional genomics program
closely interacting with three additional new DB NRRC scientists specializing
in different aspects of molecular biology and with two University of Arkansas
rice breeders. The University provides a full-time technician to work with him.
Dr. Tai, who received his doctorate in plant biology in 1995
from the University of California, Berkeley, first researched molecular
genetics of pepper and reported the results in journals such as the Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences and Theoretical and Applied Genetics.
In 1996 and 1997 he was a postdoctoral research associate at
the Sainsbury Laboratory, John Innes Center, Norwich, United Kingdom. Then he
worked as a postdoctoral research associate at Cornell University, where his
experience in the rice molecular genetics laboratory of Dr. Susan McCouch gave
him a jump-start on his assignment at DB NRRC.
Tai was selected as the top young scientist in the ARS Southern
Plains Area. He is one of eight early career scientists of the year
to be recognized in a February 7 awards ceremony at the agencys
Henry A. Wallace Beltsville Agricultural
Research Center in Maryland. Each scientist will receive a plaque, a cash
award and additional research funding.
Early career awardees have done research of
potentially major impact while being with ARS 7 years or less and have received
their highest academic degrees in the last 10 years.
A native of Canal Point, Florida, Tai received a bachelors
degree from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.
Scientific contact: Thomas H. Tai, ARS
Dale Bumpers National Rice
Research Center, Stuttgart, Ark.; phone (870) 672-9300, fax (870) 673-7581,