Track 2 | From genes to organisms | University of Cape Town, SA
Jill Farrant is an acknowledged world leader in the field of plant desiccation tolerance, holding a rarely given A-rated status by the South African National Research Foundation (NRF). She holds Department of Science and Innovation NRF Research Chair in Plant Desiccation Tolerance for Food Security. Her research is multidisciplinary, utilising techniques involved molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology and physiology to understand protection mechanisms, and regulation thereof, associated with desiccation tolerance. Biotechnological tools are used to test informed data on genetic alteration(s) required and ultimately for the production of extremely drought-tolerant crops. Farrant has received 10 national and international awards, including the L’Oreal-UNESCO award in life sciences (2012) that ‘recognizes women whose exceptional careers in science have opened up new and sometimes revolutionary ways of improving human well-being’. She has numerous publications and is Fellow of 4 prestigious societies. Her work has been the subject of several local and international documentaries, which can be found on her website.