Ray Wu, Ph.D., 2002 Annunzio Award

Written by on July 10, 2002 in 2002, Researcher, The Annunzio STEM Leadership Award

Ray Wu

Ray Wu, Ph.D.

Professor of Biochemistry/Molecular Biology
Cornell University,
Ithaca, New York

Dr. Wu, a pioneer in genetic engineering, published the first method for sequencing DNA, and has been a central figure in the related development of new cereal crops for third world countries.
His DNA sequencing method used a novel, location-specific primer-extension strategy that made sequence analysis possible. His strategy has been incorporated into subsequent generations of rapid procedures, including the use of automated instruments, which has led to the decoding of entire genomes of many living organisms. Information on these sequences is essential for improving health care and increasing food security in the next several decades.

Based on his keen knowledge of DNA, genes and rice biotechnology, he has developed techniques to produce drought- and salt-tolerant transgenic rice plants. The same genes and methods have the potential to dramatically increase production of all major cereal crops, which is crucial for third world countries.

Beyond more than 300 original research papers in the areas of genetic engineering, medicine, plant biology, and plant biotechnology, he holds five patents covering genetic engineering methods. He has applied these findings to practical problems faced by billions of people throughout the world. He has also improved understanding between the United States and China by creating programs for scholarly inter-change in the biological sciences.

The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is honored to have had the assistance of the following distinguished individuals serving on the 2002 Frank Annunzio Awards Evaluation Committee:

Anthony Atala, M.D. – Associate Professor of Surgery at Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA. (Dr. Atala was the recipient of the 2000 $100,000 Christopher Columbus Foundation Award.)
Eric Haseltine, Ph.D. – President, Walt Disney Imagineering, Research and Development, Glendale, CA
Gina Ryan, CAE – Executive Director and CEO of the Society of Women Engineers, Chicago, IL
Neill S. Smith, Ph.D. – Senior Engineer, Vehicle Control Technologies, Reston, VA


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