Plant and plant organ growth are regulated by an exceedingly complex interplay of many genes and their interactions with the ever changing environment. Numerous genes, of which the modified expression enhances plant organ growth, have now been identified, and a detailed study of these genes provided novel insights into the molecular machines driving growth. Dirk Inzé's research ambition is to obtain a holistic understanding of the molecular networks regulating plant organ growth and crop productivity. His work has opened up new perspectives for the identification of optimal growth regulatory networks that can be selected by advanced breeding, or for which more robust variants can be obtained through genetic engineering. As such, Dirk Inzé's work significantly contributes to providing food security for the growing world population.
Dirk Inzé graduated in 1979 at Ghent University, where he also received his PhD in 1984. In 1990, he was appointed Research Director of the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA), where he initiated highly successful research programs on the cell cycle and growth control in plants. In 1995, he became Professor at Ghent University. Dirk Inzé was the scientific founder of the biotechnology company CropDesign, which was established in 1998 and acquired in 2006 by BASF. In 2002, Dirk Inzé was appointed Director of the Center for Plant Systems Biology of the VIB. Under his directorship, the VIB, Center for Plant Systems Biology, currently employing 300 persons, became one of the world leading centers for advanced plant sciences.
In 1994, Dirk Inzé was laureate of the Körber Stiftung Prize (Germany), and in 2003 he became EMBO member. Later, in 2005, he was laureate of the Belgium Francqui Prize. He was awarded the prestigious five-yearly Doctor A. De Leeuw-Damry-Bourlart Prize for Exact Sciences in 2010. In 2013, he received an ERC Advanced grant. In 2016, he received the Professor Shu-Chen Grace Chen Lectureship Award, and in 2017 the World Agriculture Prize GCHERA (Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences). He published more than 550 peer-reviewed articles that received >49,000 citations (H-index 122, October 2018), making him one of the most influential plant scientists.
Dirk Inzé has served on numerous scientific committees, editorial boards and international science advisory boards and has been an invited speaker at more than 225 internationally renowned conferences. In 2012, he became the Chair of the Life Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Geosciences (LEGS) Committee of the important European science policy organization, Science Europe. He is elected member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and the Russian international Academy of Engineering.