Jozef Schell

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Marc Van Montagu (left) and Jozef Schell (right)

Jozef Stefaan (Jeff) baron Schell (20 July 1935 – 17 April 2003) was a Belgian molecular biologist.

Jozef (Jeff) Schell studied Zoology and microbiology at the University of Ghent, Belgium. From 1967 to 1995 he worked as a professor at the university. From 1978 to 2000 he was director and head of the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research (Institut für Züchtungsforschung) at the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft in Cologne, Germany. He received many prizes, among which were the Francqui Prize in 1979, the Wolf Prize in Agriculture in 1990, and the Japan Prize in 1998, which he shared with Marc Van Montagu. He also was appointed Professeur Honoraire, Collège de France, Paris in 1998. He was granted the title of Baron by Baudouin of Belgium.

Schell was a pioneer in genetics who focused on the interaction between plants and soil bacteria. Along with his colleague, Marc Van Montagu, Jeff Schell discovered the gene transfer mechanism between Agrobacterium and plants, which resulted in the development of methods to alter Agrobacterium into an efficient delivery system for gene engineering in plants. Besides being an excellent scientist, he founded in collaboration with Marc Van Montagu the successful biotech company Plant Genetic Systems Inc., Belgium in 1982, now part of Bayer CropScience.

Many of the most prominent science journals published (sometimes exceptionally) obituaries in honor of Jeff Schell.[1][2]

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Selected publications[edit]


  1. ^ Flavell, R. (2003). "Transformation of Plant Science in Our Time--the Contribution of Jozef S. Schell (1935-2003)". Plant Physiology 132 (3): 1119–21. doi:10.1104/pp.900084. PMC 1540325. PMID 12857791. 
  2. ^ "Jeff Schell". The Plant Journal 34 (6). 2003. doi:10.1046/j.1365-313X.2003.00346.x.