Spotlight on J-WAFS’ first Grand Challenge project
The Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS) awards its first Water and Food Grand Challenge Grant to a team of researchers who are working to improve inefficiencies in photosynthesis of crop plants to support climate-resilient agricultural productivity. The team is led by Matt Shoulders and Robert Wilson of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) department of chemistry, and includes MIT faculty Mary Gehring, professor of biology, Bin Zhang, associate professor of chemistry, and Bryan Bryson, associate professor of biological engineering, as well as outside collaborators Spencer Whitney from The Australian National University, Ahmed Badran, from the Scripps Research Institute, and Stephen Long, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“Our collaborative team of biochemists and synthetic biologists, computational biologists, and chemists is deeply integrated with plant biologists and field trial experts, yielding a robust feedback loop for enzyme engineering,” says Matt. “Together, this team will be able to make a concerted effort using the most modern, state-of-the-art techniques to engineer crop RuBisCO with an eye to helping make meaningful gains in securing a stable crop supply, hopefully with accompanying improvements in both food and water security.”