The award will be presented 6 p.m. Saturday July 26 in Room 317 of the Hawaii Convention Center during the ASPB annual meeting. Immediately following the award presentation, Dr. Gonsalves will give a presentation on his research in the Perspectives of Science Leaders Program.
A research discovery by Dr. Gonsalves and his colleagues led to the development of enhanced papaya. Using techniques of modern biotechnology, paired with conventional plant breeding, Gonsalves and colleagues engineered the tropical fruit, papaya, to resist attack by ringspot virus.
Seeds of the research team's ringspot-resistant papayas were made available in 1998 for growers to evaluate, including those whose orchards had been hit by the virus. Now widely planted, the new varieties have shown excellent resistance to the virus that once threatened to devastate the state's papaya production.
Hawaii's farmers produce nearly the entire U.S. papaya crop. Their 2001 harvest of more than 55 million pounds had a farm-gate value of more than $14 million.
Dr. Gonsalves and his colleagues were honored in 2002 with the Alexander von Humboldt Award for Agriculture. The Humboldt award is given annually to the person or team making the most significant contribution to U.S. agriculture during the previous five years.
Dr. Gonsalves is a scientist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (ARS). He is director of the U.S. Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center, headquartered in Hilo, Hawaii. Dr. Gonsalves was born and raised on a sugar plantation in Kohala, Hawaii. After graduating from Kamehameha School in 1961, he attended the University of Hawaii and received a Bachelors degree in
Contact: Brian Hyps
American Society of Plant Biologists