Paper by Biologist Madelaine Bartlett Entered in STAT Madness

First-round matchup

In a scientific answer to basketball’s NCAA March Madness, Boston-based STAT News has launched a bracket-style tournament, STAT Madness, “to find the best innovations in science and medicine.”

Winners are determined by online voting.

A paper authored by Madelaine Bartlett, assistant professor of biology and curator of living plant collections, and her collaborator, Zachary Lippman of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York is included in the first bracket of 64 papers.

Under the Cold Spring logo, Bartlett and Lippman are pitted against a team from Washington University, St. Louis.  

Voters can click on each of the 32 first-round matchups for a summary of each institution’s pioneering research, then pick favorites.

To vote, log on to

Bartlett and Lippman’s goal was to experimentally speed up the mutation process using CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, says Bartlett. “Instead of waiting for the next thousand years to see what new mutations arise in these genes, we will accelerate evolution in a very controlled and intelligent way to create genetic diversity for use by traditional plant breeders.”

Lippman had earlier shown that a gene in the CLAVATA gene network was important in tomato domestication. The Bartlett lab’s role was to uncover the evolutionary history of the CLAVATA.

Voting for the first bracket Round of 64 closes Thursday, March 1 at midnight.

Other matchups continue during the month, with the final contest between the two top contenders on March 28.