Each peanut is a complex mix of its genetic parts. Scott Jackson wants to figure out how the tasty legume’s genes work and help produce a higher yielding, more disease-resistant one. And he’s coming to Georgia to do it.

In August, Jackson will join the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences as its newest Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. He is currently a professor of agronomy at Purdue University.

“We have a world-class plant breeding and genetics program, perhaps the best in the world,” said J. Scott Angle, dean and director of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

“We identified a need in this program and found the top person in this area. We then aggressively pursued Dr. Jackson to move his program to Georgia. I am pleased we were successful, and I know that the economy of Georgia will benefit from his move to our great state.”

Jackson’s research focuses heavily on crop genomics. “We’re trying to understand the genome and the genome structure so that we can more efficiently manipulate the genetics of crops to produce better varieties,” he said. “We go where the questions are, and the tools are needed.”

He will work in UGA’s Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics and the Crop and Soil Science Department.

“We’re really excited to have someone of his caliber working with other research scientists at UGA,” said Terry Hollifield, acting director at the Georgia Seed Development Commission. The commission partially funded the endowment for the eminent scholar position.

Jackson’s main reason for coming to UGA “mostly was the faculty there,” he said. “It’s a strong group, an active and growing group… It’s also an opportunity to expand in some areas where I haven’t been working before. In Indiana, peanuts isn’t a crop at all. It’s a chance to collaborate with people more closely than I have before.”