SHERIDAN — University of Wyoming professor of horticulture Sadanand Dhekney has been given the 2013 Young Scientist Award from the Society for In Vitro Biology.
Dhekney, who teaches and conducts research at the UW Sheridan Research and Extension Center, is currently studying the possibility of expanding grape production in Wyoming, determining varieties and rootstocks that will grow well in Wyoming’s challenging climate and improving existing elite varieties for drought and salinity tolerance using genetic engineering technology.
He studies mostly wine-grape varieties and some table-grape varieties.
He holds the E.A. Whitney Professorship in Agriculture, which is endowed by Whitney Benefits.
“I’m honored by the recognition and feel very proud to represent UW at the SIVB awards presentation,” Dhekney said. “I’ve been a society member for 12 years. I first started attending meetings when I was a graduate student at the University of Florida. I’ve published a number of peer-reviewed articles in the SIVB journal In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology: Plant. I was happy that all my hard work has paid off.”
The Young Scientist Award is given to scientists who are SIVB members and conduct research in the disciplines of in vitro plant and animal biology.
Nominations for the young scientist award come from academia worldwide.
Dhekney was nominated by his mentor, Dennis Gray, professor of developmental biology at the University of Florida.
“I am very happy for Sadanand,” said Bret Hess, associate dean of research at the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and director of the Wyoming Agricultural Experiment Station, which overseas four research and extension centers in Wyoming.
“He is a very kind and genuine person whose research has potential to revolutionize plant breeding,” he added. “It is a true honor to have such an award bestowed for his contributions to an emerging field of science. It is exciting to have a scientist of Sadanand’s caliber on our college’s research team.”
Dhekney will receive the award during the 2013 In Vitro Biology meeting in Providence, R.I., June 15-19.
“I started work at UW in 2012, and my research program studying grape production is relatively new,” Dhekney said. “A number of growers statewide are interested in the research, and this award will hopefully help raise more awareness of my programs.”
He credited the AES and the plant sciences department for their roles in providing facilities for his research.
“They deserve credit for any honors or awards that I receive,” he said. “I’m also fortunate to collaborate with faculty members and students from Sheridan College.”