Marc Van Montagu
  • 2013 World Food Prize


Belgian molecular biologist. In 2013, he received the World Food Prize for independent, individual breakthrough achievements in founding, developing, and applying modern agricultural biotechnology

Education and Work Experience

1965, Ph.D., Organic Chemistry/Biochemistry, Ghent University
1979-1999, Director of the Department of Genetics, Ghent University-Flanders Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), Belgium
2005-Present, President of the Public Research & Regulation Initiative (PRRI), Delft, Holland and Brussels Belgium
Present, Emeritus Professor-Ghent University and Founder and Chairman of VIB- International Plant Biotechnology Outreach, Ghent University

Honors and Awards

1987, Belgian Royal Academy of Sciences 1998, Japan Prize
2013, World Food Prize
2015, Iran Agriculture Gold Medal

Major Academic Achievements

Professor Marc Van Montagu's contributions include basic research and applied research. In basic research, he discovered the Ti-plasmid, functional mapping of the Ti-plasmid and its role in the mechanism of gene transfer from Agrobacterium tumefaciens to plants, and made pioneering contributions on plant gene discovery and regulation. At the same time, he also made major contributions in the studies of plant molecular mechanisms of response to abiotic stresses (high light, ozone, cold, salt and drought), and in the identification of Arabidopsis genes involved in growth, development and flowering. In terms of applied research, he developed methods to alter Agrobacterium into an efficient delivery system for gene engineering in plants, constructed the first plants producing the Bt (Bacillus thuringensis) insecticide (at PGS), the first herbicide tolerant plants (at PGS) and poplar trees with improved pulping qualities (altered lignin composition). His research is making it possible for farmers to grow crops with: improved yields; resistance to insects and disease; and the ability to tolerate extreme variations in climate.