Cereal rust expert wins Siehl Prize in Agriculture

John Bakum
Thursday, May 9, 2013

Yue Jin
Yue Jin
Yue Jin, adjunct associate professor in the department of plant pathology at the University of Minnesota, and an expert in biology and population genetics of cereal rust fungi at the USDA-ARS Cereal Disease Laboratory, is a 2013 recipient of the Siehl Prize in Agriculture. Yue Jin will receive the prestigious prize in the category of “Knowledge” at the University of Minnesota on May 23, 2013. In his nomination letter, Yue Jin was cited as “one of the scientists most critical to the success of the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative and the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat project,” two projects dedicated to stopping the spread of rust in wheat and barley. Wheat rust is a significant threat to the world’s food supply.

Yue Jin’s laboratory at the USDA Cereal Disease Lab (CDL) on the UM’s St. Paul campus is a unique resource for testing and analyzing deadly rust samples from around the world, one of only three laboratories in the world to determine the race of stem rust samples received from international surveillance efforts.
Yue Jin is also recognized for exemplary work on barberry, the alternate host of stem rust. The world’s understanding of the evolution of stem and stripe rust pathogens has increased significantly due to Yue Jin’s innovative and ground-breaking work on barberry.

Yue Jin is also recognized as a mentor to the next generation of top wheat rust scientists from around the world. He served as a mentor to one of the 2010 Jeanie Borlaug Women in Tritium (WIT) award winners, Maricelis Acevedo, now a junior faculty member at North Dakota State University, and recently hired Maria Newcombe, a 2012 WIT award winner, in his lab.

Yue Jin will be honored at the Siehl Prize Ceremony on May 23 along with Phillip Minerich (agribusiness), and Ted Huisinga and Ray Norling (production agriculture).

The Siehl Prize was created in the early 1990s by a generous gift from New Ulm-area livestock breeder and businessman Eldon Siehl, a dedicated philanthropist who had a lifelong interest in agricultural systems. Siehl was concerned that people were losing touch with their agrarian roots. Siehl wanted his gift to ensure that achievements in agriculture would be recognized and celebrated. Recipients receive a $50,000 award as well as a sculpture and lapel pin designed by Minnesota artist Thomas Rose especially for the Siehl Prize.