Emeritus Professor Gerald (Jerry) Pullman was awarded a lifetime achievement award for outstanding contributions in somatic embryogenesis and other vegetative propagation technologies by the Fourth International Conference of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations focused on Somatic Embryogenesis and Other Vegetative Propagation Technologies held in September 2016 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Dr. Gerald Pullman, Emeritus Professor in the School of Biology, was recognized for his outstanding contributions and scientific endeavors in the vegetative propagation of trees, especially somatic embryogenesis in conifer species. The lifetime achievement award was presented at the Fourth International Conference of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO Unit 2.09.02) held September 19-23 in La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina. The conference participants gathered to discuss “Development and application of vegetative propagation technologies in plantation forestry to cope with a changing climate and environment”. The membership of the unit currently includes 742 scientists from 341 affiliations and 65 countries.
As demands for forest products grow and the land base to produce trees shrinks, it will become necessary to produce trees that produce more wood and fiber per acre, with improved wood and fiber properties. Clonal propagation of trees with desired growth and processing characteristics will facilitate this goal.
Jerry’s research interests for the past 35 years have been in the areas of multiplication of high-value trees through somatic embryogenesis, understanding the fundamental physical and chemical factors driving natural plant embryo development, creation of tissue culture systems necessary for the genetic engineering of forest trees and methods to propagate and conserve rare and endangered Southeastern plants. Jerry has over 120 publications with 55 focused in the field of somatic embryogenesis and additional publications on understanding seed conditions occurring during natural embryo development, vegetative propagation of forest trees, and conservation of endangered species through tissue culture and cryogenic storage.
Jerry continues to lead a small tissue culture program at the Georgia Tech Renewable Bioproducts Institute focused on conifer somatic embryogenesis and conservation of rare and endangered species in the Southeast. The research on rare and endangered plants is in partnership with the Atlanta Botanical Garden and often works with School of Biology undergraduate students.