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USD Professor Receives Prestigious Grant for Drought Research

VERMILLION, S.D. – Bernie Wone, an assistant professor of biology at the University of South Dakota, has been awarded $85,400 from the South Dakota Board of Regents to investigate genes for improving drought stress responses in crop plants, such as canola.

Wone’s research will try to determine if certain genes improve water-use efficiency and/or drought tolerance in less drought tolerant plants.

Wone said his research is critical in helping solve food insecurity issues related to a warming planet. “If you think in terms of global population we’re projected to be at about 9 billion people by the end of the century, so we have to find some way to provide food security whether that be for our nation or other nations,” Wone said.

Wone received a Track I grant which is considered the most competitive type of grant offered by the BOR. With the funding, Wone said he’s been able to recruit another graduate student to help him with his work. The research team includes master’s student, Atia Amin, as well as a Ph.D. student Kumudu Rathnayake.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News