Markita Landry awarded Bakar Prize for nanotechnolgy innovations

February 23, 2023

Markita Landry in her lab

Markita Landry in the lab. Image courtesy Vilcek Foundation.

The College of Chemistry is delighted to announce that Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Markita Landry is one of four UC Berkeley faculty members to be awarded the 2023 Bakar Prize. The prize is designed to give a boost to innovators as they translate their discoveries into real-world solutions. Given annually to former Bakar Fellows, the prize provides additional resources to ensure a successful transition of their technology from academic research to industry applications.

Now in its 11th year, the Bakar Fellows Programs has supported 64 Faculty Fellows and more than 50 Innovation Fellows as graduate students or postdoctoral fellows. The program continues to attract and support innovative research teams that are committed to moving their basic research discoveries into real-world applications. Prior College of Chemistry award winners includes Professor of Chemistry & Materials Science and Engineering Ting Xu.

About Assoc. Professor Markita Landry

Markita Landry, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering; Prize awarded for: Bypassing plant regeneration with nanotechnologies to deliver DNA, RNA, and protein

Plants are vastly underrepresented among the many biological systems in which genetic engineering is routine. Technologies to genetically manipulate plants yield random DNA integration into the plant genome, are inefficient and require transgene segregation through laborious breeding if labeling as a genetically modified organism (GMO) is to be avoided. With current approaches, it can take months or years to obtain and test a plant genetic variant. One main bottleneck facing efficient plant genetic modification is efficient biomolecule delivery into plant cells through the rigid and multi-layered cell wall. Landry’s lab has developed a nanotechnology that enables high-throughput delivery of biomolecules to plants without requiring expensive equipment or refrigeration of reagents. The method results in transient protein expression without incorporation of foreign DNA into the plant genome.