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CJ Tsai stands with her arms crossed and her left shoulder leaning against a tree.

UGA Professor Receives International Scientific Achievement Award

CJ Tsai, W.N. “Hanks” Haynes Professor in Forest Biotechnology and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar at the University of Georgia, has been a named a recipient of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) Scientific Achievement Award.

Given only every five years, this distinguished peer-nominated award recognizes an individual’s scientific achievements in forest research.

Tsai will be recognized during the 26th IUFRO World Congress in Stockholm, Sweden in June 23–29, 2024.

The IUFRO World Congress is a premier global forestry event where the world's foremost scientists and leading figures gather to share knowledge and collaboratively forge paths toward a sustainable future in forestry, climate, and society.

A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the International Academy of Wood Science (IAWS), Tsai is an internationally recognized expert in the field of tree genomics and biotechnology. She holds joint appointments with the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, as well as the Department of Plant Biology and the Department of Genetics in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

Her lab pioneered the use of cutting-edge CRISPR genome editing in forest trees for metabolic engineering or genetic manipulation of traits important to tree growth, stress tolerance, and bioenergy applications. A notable example of this work includes decreasing poplar tree flowering time from years to months, which promises to shorten breeding cycles, potentially accelerating tree breeding for improved traits, such as cold or drought tolerance.

Tsai is humbled to receive the award, attributing her appreciation to the collective achievements of her past and present colleagues and collaborators.

“I would like to express my gratitude to colleagues and peers who nominated and selected me for this award. It’s a recognition of my former and current lab members and collaborators. Working with non-model organisms like trees is both challenging and rewarding. It takes a village to tackle perennial traits in a changing world, and I feel fortunate to be part of a growing community to push the frontiers of tree genomics and biotechnology research. This award is a motivation for me to continue research and mentoring the next generation of scientists in this journey.”


Winfred N. "Hank" Haynes Professor, Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar

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