Mackenzie to deliver first Heuermann Lecture

Mackenzie to deliver first Heuermann Lecture

Sally Mackenzie

Sally Mackenzie, Ralph and Alice Raikes Chair for Plant Science in UNL's Center for Plant Science Innovation, opens the 2013-2014 Heuermann Lecture series with a 3:30 p.m. Sept. 30 presentation in the Hardin Hall Auditorium. Mackenzie will discuss "Beyond GMOs to a More Honest Dialogue About Our Food." The lecture is free and open to the public.

The lecture is preceded by a 3 p.m. reception in the Hardin Hall lobby.

"The debate about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and their safety has obscured the public's ability to understand the true threats to our future agricultural security," Mackenzie said. "There are many exciting developments in crop genetics that offer potential solutions to the threats facing our food supply. It is only through an honest and factual debate that consumers will be able to evaluate the merits of these technologies."

Mackenzie will discuss how this process has gone off track, and where she believes misinformation has hijacked the debate.

Mackenzie, who holds a joint appointment in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture and the School of Biological Sciences at UNL, was founding director of UNL's Center for Plant Science Innovation. She also is the Qiushi Chair professor for Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China.

Her research focus areas are plant genetics, epigenetics, genomics and organelle biology. Organelles are specialized parts of a cell that control a cell's energy production.

Mackenzie received the Sigma Xi Outstanding Scientist Award at UNL in 2010, and became an elected fellow of the American Society of Plant Biologists this year. She also is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

She has served as associate editor of Crop Science journal, and on the editorial board of the Journal of Plant Molecular Biology, Journal of Heredity and Plant Physiology, as well as on the advisory editorial board for Plant Journal. She serves on the executive committee and chairs the publications committee of the American Society of Plant Biology.

The author of numerous refereed journal articles and invited book chapters, Mackenzie holds three patents and is an invited lecturer nationally and internationally.

"Understanding how the information and misinformation around GMOs affects perceptions and realities of food production and policy is vital now, and as we look to the projected world population growth of an additional 2 billion people in the next 40 years," said Ronnie Green, University of Nebraska vice president and Harlan vice chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at UNL. "We are pleased to have our very own Sally Mackenzie, an internationally known expert on this topic, lead off this Heuermann Lecture season with this important discussion."

Heuermann Lectures in IANR are free and open to the public. Lectures focus on providing and sustaining enough food, natural resources and renewable energy for the world's people, and on securing the sustainability of rural communities where the vital work of producing food and renewable energy occurs.

Heuermann Lectures are made possible by a gift from B. Keith and Norma Heuermann of Phillips, long-time university supporters with a strong commitment to Nebraska's production agriculture, natural resources, rural areas and people.

Lectures stream live at http://heuermannlectures.unl.edu, and are broadcast on NET2 World at a date following the lecture.