Inaugural J-WAFS Grand Challenge aims to develop enhanced crop variants and move them from lab to land
The inaugural Grand Challenge Grant from the Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS) has been awarded to a team of researchers led by Matt Shoulders, professor in MIT's department of chemistry, and includes Mary Gehring, a 2021 J-WAFS principal investigator, Bryan Bryson, associate professor of biological engineering, and Bin Zhang, associate professor of chemistry. Their project, 'Enhanced photosynthesis in crops' (EPiC), seeks to improve the RuBisCO enzyme that plants use to convert carbon dioxide into molecules that constitute food. The team will receive USD 1.5 million over three years to facilitate a multistage research project, which, if successful, could create major benefits for agriculture and food systems worldwide. 'This difficult problem is a true grand challenge. With J-WAFS’ support, this long-sought goal may finally be achieved through MIT’s leading-edge research', said J-WAFS director, John H Lienhard V.