Nina V Fedoroff

Nina V Fedoroff

Principal Investigator

Director, Center for Desert Agriculture
Distinguished Professor, Bioscience


Research Interests

The Fedoroff group has interests ranging from the molecular mechanism of microRNA processing, to epigenetic regulation of transposons and abiotic stress responses, to the development of new halophytic crops and salt-tolerant varieties of existing crops, and new greenhouse designs suitable for coastal desert conditions of high temperature and humidity.  Fedoroff is the Director of KAUST's Center for Desert Agriculture CDA as well as organizer of KAUST's  Desert Agriculture Research Initiative (DARI), a collaborative effort involving several of KAUST's research centers, individuals in other universities (both in Saudi Arabia and other countries), companies and both governmental and non-governmental organizations. 

Selected Publications

  • Iwata, Y., Takahashi, M., Fedoroff, N., and Hamdan, S. (2013).  Dissecting the interactions of SERRATE with RNA and DICER-LIKE 1 in Arabidopsis microRNA precursor processing. Nucleic Acids Res. doi: 10.1093/  nar/gkt667.

  • Fedoroff, N. (2013).  Plant Transposons and Genome Evolution. (Wiley-Blackwell: Hoboken, NJ), More Information

  • Fedoroff, N. V. and R. Beachy (2012). Facilitating market access for GE crops developed through public sector research.  In: C. A. Wozniak and A.McHughen (eds), Regulation of Agricultural Biotechnology: The United  States and Canada, pp 377-90.

  • Fedoroff, N. V. (2012). Transposable elements, epigenetics, and genome evolution. Science 388: 758-767.


    •    Ph.D., The Rockefeller University, Molecular Biology (1972)

    •    B.S., Syracuse University, Biology and Chemistry, summa cum laude (1966) 

Professional Profile

  • 2011-present, Distinguished Professor of Biosciences, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
  • 2011-12, President, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
  • 2010-present, Evan Pugh Professor, Penn State University
  • 2010-2011, Distinguished Visiting Professor, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.
  • 2007-2010, Science and Technology Adviser to the Secretary of State, U. S. Department of State, and S & T Adviser to the Administrator of the U. S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
  • 1995-2010, Willaman Professor of the Life Sciences and Evan Pugh Professor, Biology Department, and the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, Penn State University.
  • 1995-2002, Director, Biotechnology Institute and Founding Director, Huck Institute of the Life Sciences, Penn State University.
  • 1978-1995, Staff Member, Carnegie Institution of Washington (now the Carnegie Institution for Science), Department of Embryology, and Assistant, Associate and Professor, Biology Department, Johns Hopkins University.

Scientific and Professional Memberships

  • Genetics Society of America
  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • International Society for Plant Molecular Biology
  • American Society for Plant Biology
  • American Association for the Advancement of Science


  • Sigma Xi
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences, elected 1989
  • National Institutes of Health Merit Award (10 year research grant, 1989-99)
  • National Academy of Sciences, elected 1990
  • Howard Taylor Ricketts Award, 1990
  • Outstanding Contemporary Woman Scientist, New York Academy of Sciences, 1992
  • Named one of the 50 most outstanding alumni of the Damon Runyan-Walter Winchel Found., 1996
  • Sigma Xi John P. McGovern Science and Society Medal, 1997
  • American Academy of Microbiology, elected 1998
  • Evan Pugh Professorship, The Pennsylvania State University, 2002
  • European Academy of Sciences, elected 2002
  • Arents Pioneer Medal, Syracuse University, 2003
  • National Medal of Science, 2006
  • Honorary Doctorate, Rockefeller University, 2008
  • Leadership in Science Public Service Award, American Society of Plant Biology, 2010
  • International Academy of Food Sciences and Technology, 2010
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2011

KAUST Affiliations

  • Director, Center for Desert Agriculture

Non-KAUST Affiliations

  • Evan Pugh Professor, Penn State University
  • External Professor, Santa Fe Institute