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2016 Sarkeys Award Liuling Yan

2016 Sarkeys Award Liuling Yan

OSU’s 2016 Sarkeys Award recipient Liuling Yan strengthening dual-purpose wheat production systems

STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State University’s Liuling Yan has been named the 2016 recipient of the Sarkeys Distinguished Professor Award by the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. OSU’s 2016 Sarkeys Award recipient Liuling Yan strengthening dual-purpose wheat production systems DASNR Vice President Tom Coons presents the 2016 Sarkeys Award to Liuling Yan. (Photo by Todd Johnson)

The Sarkeys award is based on outstanding contributions to agriculture through teaching, research or extension efforts. The award was established by the Sarkeys Foundation in 1980 to honor Elmo Baumann, an agronomist who worked with the foundation after his retirement from OSU.

2016 Sarkeys Award Liuling Yan
DASNR Vice President Tom Coons presents the 2016 Sarkeys Award to Liuling Yan. (Photo by Todd Johnson)
“An expert in wheat molecular genetics and breeding, Dr. Yan has been instrumental in enabling OSU to remain at the forefront of technological advances in variety development, especially when it comes to grazing tolerance, which is of key importance to the many producers who use a dual-purpose grazing and milling wheat production system,” said Jeff Edwards, head of the department of plant and soil sciences.

An OSU faculty member since 2006, Yan has been the holder of the prestigious OSU Dillon and Lois Hodges Professorship in Plant and Soil Sciences since 2012, the year in which he was honored with the division’s equally prestigious James A. Whatley Award for Meritorious Service in Agricultural Sciences.

“Though explaining the science might take big words and scientific verbiage, the end result of Dr. Yan’s work is easy to describe: He makes it easier for producers growing wheat and grazing cattle on wheat to be successful, strengthening Oklahoma’s agriculture economy in the process,” Edwards said.

The Yan lab primarily studies genetic basis and molecular mechanisms of flowering time in wheat. Wheat cultivars are classified as two general types: winter wheat requiring a period of low temperature to accelerate flowering – called vernalization – and spring wheat without the requirement. The Yan lab also studies resistance genes against diseases and insects in winter wheat in the southern Great Plains, including powdery mildew, leaf rust, stripe rust and Hessian fly.

Renowned in both scientific and agriculture industry circles, Yan’s research accomplishments on behalf of state wheat growers were recognized officially by the Oklahoma Wheat Commission in 2015, when the organization honored him with its Staff of Life award.

Yan earned his bachelor’s degree in agronomy and master’s degree in wheat applied physiology from China’s Yangzhou University in 1984 and 1987, respectively. He earned his doctoral degree in plant molecular biology from Australia’s Victoria University in 2000.

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