Campus News

Researcher named Pew scholar in biomedical sciences

Robert Schmitz is an assistant professor of genetics in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.

UGA researcher Bob Schmitz recently was named a Pew scholar in the biomedical sciences by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

An assistant professor of genetics in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Schmitz joins the ranks of more than 600 scientists who have been selected as Pew scholars in the 30 years since the program’s inception and whose careers have been dedicated to bold scientific discoveries.

“This new class of remarkable scientists is emblematic of all that is unique, exciting and compelling about this initiative,” said Rebecca W. Rimel, Pew’s president and CEO. “We are proud to provide a launching pad for the adventurous minds represented here, who will surely advance the field of biomedical science and create a healthier world for all of us.”

Schmitz’s research focuses on epigenetics. His laboratory is particularly interested in exploring a phenomenon known as DNA methylation and how this process affects the expression of traits of plants used in both agriculture and basic research.

“The long-term goal of my lab is to learn about mechanisms that control establishment and maintenance of DNA methylation such that we can engineer these pathways to specifically control gene expression,” said Schmitz, who is also a member of UGA’s Plant Center. “The results of our research will not only increase our understanding of how organisms program and maintain proper expression of genes, but it will also lead to new techniques to improve yield and nutritional value of a variety of crops.”