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Current Winner - 2022

Arthur B. McDonald Fellowships

Danielle Way

Arthur B. McDonald Fellowships

Department of Biology

Western University

Dr. Danielle Way’s research focuses on the effects of changes in CO2 concentration and temperature on plant physiological processes, with the overarching goal of improving our ability to predict how food security and natural ecosystems will be altered by rising temperatures and CO2 concentrations. Way was the first to show that warming stimulates the growth of leafy deciduous plants but suppresses the growth of the evergreens that dominate Canada’s forests, finding that evergreens are less able to acclimate photosynthesis to high temperatures than deciduous species. Her research provided a novel basis for predicting the response of plants to climate warming, a groundbreaking advance in the field.

Way is now turning her attention to one of the world’s major crops: wheat. Globally, wheat production is facing significant challenges from climate change. She is carrying out the first large-scale program to identify crop genotypes with high performance in the elevated CO2 and temperature conditions of the future, evaluating how protein, starch and mineral content would be altered under future climates. The results will allow her to build a new template for breeding climate-resilient wheat, which can then be applied to other crops.

Always eager to share her knowledge about the impacts of climate change on food security and plants, Way has a strong history of outreach through media interviews and participation in public science events. Her expertise in plant responses to climate change has led to multiple invitations from working groups that influence international policy and help determine government funding priorities.

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