June 23, 2004 | By: Haven Miller

A Kentucky trade organization dedicated to increased awareness and growth of the state’s life sciences industries has presented its 2004 Life Sciences Visionary award to a University of Kentucky administrator.

Maelor Davies, director of the UK College of Agriculture Kentucky Tobacco Research and Development Center, received the award from the Kentucky Life Sciences Organization.  KLSO, an industry supported nonprofit trade organization, selects the award recipient based on the level of positive impact the individual has contributed to the state’s life sciences community.

“Dr. Davies’ vision for life sciences and biotechnology in this state has helped carve out a niche for Kentucky in which it can be a world leader,” said Alex Day, KLSO president and CEO of Sheltowee LLC.  “The work that his group has conducted at the KTRDC is helping to position Kentucky as a potential world leader in plant-made pharmaceuticals, and he is a tremendous asset to the Commonwealth.”

KTRDC scientists conduct an array of research projects that examine new agricultural crop opportunities based on tobacco and other plants.  Projects include exploration of the use of tobacco as a production system for plant-made medicines.

“This is a prestigious award, and we’re extremely pleased and proud that KLSO has recognized Maelor Davies for his lead role in contributing to a scientific environment at the KTRDC that attracts natural products companies to Kentucky,” said Nancy Cox, associate dean for research in the UK College of Agriculture.

“I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of the entire team at KTRDC because our achievements truly have been a group effort involving the dedication and hard work of many individuals, with excellent support and guidance from our board of directors and the UK College of Agriculture,” said Davies, who has been KTRDC director since1996.

Last November, Davies and the KTRDC partnered with UK’s Kentucky Natural Products Alliance to bring together innovators and entrepreneurs for the state’s first-ever Conference on Natural Products Innovation.          

KTRDC also was a catalyst in helping to initiate Kentucky’s presence at the recent BIO 2004 International biotechnology convention that drew participants from 61 countries and 49 U.S. states to its San Francisco meeting.

The Kentucky Life Sciences Organization works with industry, academia, and government to increase awareness of life sciences and to help create an environment in the Commonwealth where the life sciences industry will flourish.