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Mackay Wins Wolf Prize

Dr. Trudy Mackay, William Neal Reynolds and Distinguished University Professor

Dr. Trudy Mackay, William Neal Reynolds and Distinguished University Professor

Trudy Mackay, William Neal Reynolds and University Distinguished Professor in NC State’s biological sciences department, has received the prestigious Wolf Prize for her work benefiting agriculture. The award is given in a number of disciplines, including agriculture, chemistry, math, medicine, physics and the arts.

The prize is known as one of the world’s most prestigious awards for academic achievement and often serves as a harbinger for Nobel Prizes. The Times of Israel reports that 14 of 26 winners of the Wolf Prize in physics later won the Nobel Prize. The prize comes with an award of $100,000.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Mackay studies the genetic and environmental factors affecting variation in quantitative, or complex, traits. Her groundbreaking work largely focuses on the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, the fruit fly.

Her work to create the publicly available Drosophila Genetic Reference Guide  has been a boon to researchers around the globe interested in studying characteristics that vary and are influenced by multiple genes – traits like aggression or sensitivity to alcohol, for example. The guide includes more than 200 lines of fruit flies that differ enormously in their genetic variation but are identical within each line.

The Wolf Prize is presented annually by the Wolf Foundation, founded by Ricardo Wolf, a German-born inventor and former Cuban ambassador to Israel.

This article was originally published by NC State News.