On November 8, the Genetics Society awarded Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) Professor Rob Martienssen the 2024 Genetics Society Medal. Martienssen earned the award for his outstanding research in the field of genetics.
Martienssen is a leading figure in the world of epigenetics. He played a key role in global efforts to produce the first complete genome sequences of several plants. These include the mustard plant Arabidopsis thaliana, maize, and oil palm. Recently, he and collaborators from CSHL’s Joshua-Tor lab uncovered how a protein called DDM1 helps plants pass down “memories” to future generations.
“It is an honor to receive the Genetics Society Medal just a few years after the Society’s centenary celebration,” Martienssen says. “Our work is currently focused on understanding epigenetic mechanisms of inheritance mediated by small RNA, histones, and their modifications. We are studying the function of these mechanisms, as well as their impact on plant breeding and human health.”
The Genetics Society was founded in 1919. It is one of the oldest learned societies in the world, with over 2,000 members around the globe.