OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Feb. 3, 2012 — Jerry Tuskan, Oak Ridge National Laboratory Distinguished Scientist in the BioSciences Division, has been named Forest Biotechnologist of the Year by the Institute of Forest Biotechnology (IFB).

His peers within the Forest Biotechnology Partnership, an international group of forestry and biotechnology professionals, selected Tuskan as the fourth scientist to win this award, which recognizes the forest biotechnologist who best exemplifies responsible uses of forest biotechnology and actively promotes science, dialogue and stewardship through their work.

According to his peers, Tuskan was nominated because of his leadership, long-term vision and vast scientific knowledge of forest biotechnology.

"Jerry exemplifies the ability to connect social need with original science in this field," said Adam Costanza, president of IFB. "He clearly cares about the future of our world's forests. Even while fostering ground-breaking genomic work in one tree species, he is communicating the benefits of forest biotechnology to government agencies and scientists around the world."

Tuskan co-leads DOE's plant microbe interaction scientific focus area and leads the Populus portion of the Biomass Formation Activity for DOE's BioEnergy Science Center. His research interests included genetic advancement of Populus and other woody crops in the deployment of biomass cropping systems for energy.

In 2006, Tuskan led the International Populus Genome Consortium in sequencing, assembling, annotating and publishing the Populus genome, which has been cited more than 1,000 times over the past five years. Tuskan has more than 120 publications in the areas of genetics and genomics of perennial plants, including 45 publications with nearly 800 citations that exclusively relate to biotechnology, biomass production and bioenergy.

Tuskan earned his doctorate in genetics from Texas A&M University, master's in forest genetics from Mississippi State University and bachelor's in forest management from Northern Arizona University.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy's Office of Science.