News - January 24, 2008

Honorary doctorates announced

Plant scientist Professor David Baulcombe and fisheries expert Professor Daniel Pauly will receive an honorary doctorate from Wageningen University. Their titles will be bestowed during the ninetieth anniversary celebrations of the university in March.

David Baulcombe, a professor at Cambridge University, is known for his research on gene-silencing. He discovered a way to make messenger-RNA illegible, as a result of which the gene appears to be absent. The technique helps scientists uncover the function of genes. In 2006, Andrew Fire and Craig Mello received the Nobel Prize for Medicine for the technique, but many plant scientists feel that the Nobel Prize committee’s decision was unfair to Baulcombe.

Fisheries expert Daniel Pauly is known for his models for estimating fish populations and his articles in Science and Nature on the dangers of over-fishing. A Frenchman, Pauly is now director of a Canadian fisheries institute. He receives the honorary doctorate not only for his scientific achievements, but also for his active role in the worldwide debate on over-fishing. / KV