Jeff Bennetzen received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Washington for studies of yeast molecular genetics,did postdoctoral work for one year,and joined the Department of Biological Sciences at Purdue University as an Assistant Professor in 1983, rising to the positions of Professor in 1991 and Umbarger Professor in 1999. Since 2003, he has been the Giles Professor in the Department of Genetics at the University of Georgia. In 2016, he founded a second laboratory in the State Key Laboratory of Tea Plant Biology and Utilization at Anhui Agricultural University. Dr. Bennetzen was elected a member of the US National Academy of Sciences in 2004 and as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2005. He was the founder or co-founder of the International Grass Genome Initiative, the Maize Genetics Executive Committee and the McClintock Prize. His laboratory is best known for its work investigating the very dynamic processes that determine the structure, function and evolution of plant genomes, and he has published more than 200 articles on this subject.