Bill Sheridan receives lifetime achievement award for research on corn genetics

William Sheridan
William Sheridan

William “Bill” Sheridan, longtime UND Biology professor and prolific researcher in corn genetics, will receive the 2021 R. Emerson Lifetime Maize Genetics Award from the Maize Genetics Cooperation.

Sheridan, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor of Biology, has been a faculty member at the University of North Dakota since 1975, and is well-known for his expertise in corn genetics.

“I am grateful for the opportunity that the University of North Dakota and the Biology Department provided me when I joined them 46 years ago,” Sheridan said. “I appreciate the continuing support and encouragement provided by the Biology Department and the College of Arts and Sciences throughout the intervening years.”

He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, and followed this with research at Yale, the University of Missouri, and ultimately at UND.  Dr. Sheridan did pioneering work in the field of maize and genetics, and has made major contributions in the genetic and developmental analyses of defective kernel mutations with regards to the endosperm and the embryo. He helped define the early stages of their development in maize, and identified and studied mutations essential for the genetic control of meiosis.

He was editor for the key community reference book “Maize for Biological Research” and fostered a unique exchange with Russian scientists in the 1990s.

“Dr. Sheridan is an incredible collaborator and mentor for scientists, he epitomizes the combination of excellence in research with the building of an open community, where everyone can thrive,” said the Maize Genetics Cooperation in a news release.

The R. Emerson Lifetime Maize Genetics Award recognizes individuals for their extraordinary lifetime achievements in maize genetics. The Maize Genetics Cooperation, which sponsors the award, is the preeminent maize genetics organization in the world.