Matthew Hufford recognized for plant genomics research

Matthew Hufford.

Matthew Hufford, associate professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology, has been awarded the Cassling Family Professorship by Iowa State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Established by Dr. Randal S. and Lori S. Cassling in honor of Randal’s parents, Robert and Rita Lenore Dunn Cassling, the Cassling Family Professorship recognizes outstanding early to mid-career faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and helps them build their future at Iowa State University.

Hufford and his lab group in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology have made significant contributions to plant genomics, with a focus on maize and the teosintes. Hufford’s research furthers insight into the evolutionary history of crops and their wild relatives, creating a better understanding of modern crop improvements and adaptation to rapidly changing climates.

The award will help the Hufford Lab to continue working at the forefront of discovery.

“Genome biology is one of the most rapidly developing areas in the life sciences,” Hufford said. “Novel techniques are constantly emerging, and these must be vetted in proof-of-concept experiments before applying to large-scale evolutionary genomic studies. The Hufford Laboratory will leverage the endowment from the Cassling Family to continue working at the cutting edge of plant genomics, applying novel approaches to the study of plant domestication/adaptation and genome evolution.”

Hufford’s work has been widely published in Science, Nature Genetics, Genome Biology, and Molecular Biology and Evolution. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service and the Smithsonian Institution.

Hufford was previously recognized by Iowa State University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with the Dean’s Emerging Faculty Leaders Award and Early Achievement in Research Award. In 2020, he received the M. Rhoades Early-career Award from the Maize Genetics Cooperative.

Hufford earned a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of California, Davis.