ARS Scientist Wins Award for Corn Research
Flores February 9, 2005
WASHINGTON, Feb. 9
Williams, a geneticist with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), was awarded by the agency today for
research to help the corn industry deal with significant insect, nematode and
aflatoxin problems. ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.
Williams was honored as the "ARS Mid-South Area Senior Research
Scientist of 2004." The Mid-South Area comprises Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana,
Mississippi and Tennessee. During a ceremony at USDA headquarters here today,
he received a plaque, cash award and additional research funding.
Williams serves as research leader of the ARS
Plant Resistance Research Unit, located at the ARS
Science Research Laboratory in Mississippi State, Miss. He is
internationally recognized as a leader in breeding corn for resistance to
insects, nematodes and fungi. He led in the development and release of 16 corn
germplasm lines that are used as a major source of resistance to insect and
disease pests in corn breeding programs throughout the world.
During 30 years with ARS, Williams has authored or coauthored 100
manuscripts. In the last decade, he discovered that southwestern corn borer and
fall armyworm larvae could be reared on tissue from mature corn kernels. His
innovative use of tissue culture led to the discovery, cloning and patenting of
a gene from corn that provides resistance to most lepidopteran insects that
attack corn. The procedures developed by Williams have been used by scientists
in numerous investigations of insect pests of corn and other crops.
Originally from Aragon, Ga., Williams earned a bachelor of science
degree in botany from the University of
Georgia, Athens. He received his doctorate in genetics in 1975 from
North Carolina State University, Raleigh.
Williams is Adjunct Professor of Agronomy and Plant Genetics at
Mississippi State University. His
professional associations include membership in the
American Society of Agronomy,
Crop Science Society of America, and
Entomological Society of America. He was
named a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy in 2004.