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Kronzucker receives Science for a Better Life award

Herbert Kronzucker received the Science for a Better Life award from Bayer, Inc. for his work on alleviating world hunger.

UTSC Professor Herbert J. Kronzucker received the Science for a Better Life award from Bayer, Inc. The award pays tribute to outstanding individuals who contribute to society through science and innovation.

Appropriately, Kronzucker received the award on World Hunger Day, May 28. Kronzucker’s research looks at ways of increasing rice production and alleviating world hunger.

“Even Toronto has hunger problems” he says. “It’s an enormous, constant and ongoing challenge, like healthcare.”

More than one billion people on the planet depend on rice for their livelihood and more than 3.5 billion depend on it as their staple food, making it the world's number one crop species. The growing world population and the decline in productive land are two major factors that make it critical to study rice productivity, Kronzucker says.

Kronzucker is the Canada Research Chair for Systems Biology of Plant Nutrition & Ion Transport. He focuses his research on how rice grows and how its growth can be improved. He examines nutrient, water and toxicant dynamics in the rice plant and its soils, with the aim of increasing the "yield ceilings" of today's elite strains of rice and developing cultivation strategies suitable to areas afflicted by major stresses such as drought and salinity.

“This award was an unexpected honour. It is a sign of confidence that we are recognized independently as leaders in hunger research with a focus on rice,” says Kronzucker. He hopes the award will help elevate the profile of hunger research.

The 21 honourees recognized last week included physician and TV personality Marla Shapiro, environmentalist David Suzuki on behalf of the David Suzuki Foundation, astronaut Roberta Bondar, and Globe and Mail public health reporter Andre Picard. Bayer presented the awards to commemorate the company’s 150th anniversary.

In addition to his research within Canada, Kronzucker works in collaboration with international groups such as the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines.

Kronzucker is a 2012-2013 recipient of UTSC's Principal's Research Award, and is currently working to launch the Canadian Centre for World Hunger Research at UTSC.

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