2018 Speakers

Dr. Bing Yang

Photo_Bing Yang.jpg

Dr. Bing Yang is a professor of Plant Sciences with the College of Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources at the University of Missouri and a member and principle investigator at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. He received PhD degree in plant pathology at Kansas State University in 2000 and joined the Department of Genetics, Development, and Cell Biology at Iowa State University as an assistant professor in 2007. Currently, Dr. Yang works on development and application of TALEN- and CRISPR-based genome editing technologies in crops such as rice, maize, wheat, sorghum and soybean. His research also focuses on basic understanding of host susceptibility/resistance to bacterial infection and using genome editing tools to engineer disease resistance in crop plants.

Dr. Joyce Van Eck

Dr. Joyce Van Eck is an associate professor and director of the Center for Plant Biotechnology Research at the Boyce Thompson Institute in Ithaca, NY.  She is also an adjunct faculty member of the Plant Breeding and Genetics Section at Cornell University. Dr. Van Eck received her undergraduate degree in Plant Biology from the Pennsylvania State University, a M.S. from the University of Delaware, and a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Cornell University. The focus of research in the Van Eck laboratory is biotechnological approaches to the study of gene function and crop improvement.  For her studies, she applies genetic engineering strategies including gene editing to food crops, such as grape, potato, and tomato, in addition to several model species (Setaria viridisBrachypodium distachyon, and Asclepias syriaca).

Dr. Dan Voytas

Dr. Dan Voytas is a Professor in the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Development and the Director of the Center for Precision Plant Genomics at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Voytas graduated from Harvard College in 1984 and received his Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1990. He conducted postdoctoral research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where he was a fellow of the Life Science Research Foundation. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota, Dr. Voytas was a professor at Iowa State University (1992-2008).  Dr. Voytas is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Specializing in molecular biology and genetics, Dr. Voytas’ research focuses on genome modification using nucleases that recognize specific DNA sequences. In 2005, he co-founded the Zinc Finger Consortium, a group of academic scientists focused on creating open-source platforms for engineering zinc finger nucleases for targeted mutagenesis.  His laboratory developed a superior class of sequence-specific nucleases – Transcription Activator-Like Effector Nucleases (TALENs) – which were heralded by Science magazine as one of the top ten scientific breakthroughs of 2012. Using Cas9/CRISPR-based nucleases, Dr. Voytas’ lab is currently optimizing methods for efficiently making targeted genome modifications in a variety of plant species. Recent advances in Dr. Voytas’s lab include the use of geminivirus replicons to dramatically increase the frequency of precise genome modifications in multiple plant species. In addition to his position at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Voytas advises agricultural biotechnology companies on the use of new methods of genome engineering for crop improvement and serves as Chief Science Officer for Calyxt.

Dr. Edward Cargill

Dr. Edward Cargill is currently the Applied Cell Biology Lead in Plant Biotechnology and a Science Fellow at Bayer Crop Science. He received his B.S. in Animal Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and his Ph.D. in Genetics from the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program at Texas A&M University. Dr. Cargill is currently leading a team of scientists working on genome editing and plant transformation. Since working for Monsanto (now Bayer Crop Science), Dr. Cargill became an Adjunct Assistant Professor with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2016. Dr. Cargill began working for Monsanto Animal Ag in 2006 researching dairy cattle traits, and transitioned to crop research at Monsanto in 2008. He spent the next 5 years working with engineers, scientists, and breeders to further develop Monsanto’s seed chipping technologies, double haploid corn process, and molecular detection methods. Dr. Cargill then transitioned to lead a team of discovery breeders in Monsanto’s Plant Breeding organization, which focused on breeding methodology, traits, phenotyping, and agronomic practices towards contributing improvements to the breeding pipeline. As gene editing technology became prevalent, he began leading a team of breeders and scientists at the intersection of the Plant Breeding and Biotechnology organizations to develop and implement editing technology in the breeding pipeline until transitioning to his current role. As an Adjunct Assistant Professor with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Dr. Cargill serves as a faculty committee member for graduate students working full-time in industry while pursuing advanced degrees. His teams have also hosted multiple summer interns and co-op students. Dr. Cargill has also championed multiple collaborations between academic researchers and Monsanto, which he looks to continue doing with Bayer Crop Science. He also actively participates as a mentor to colleagues through Bayer Crop Science leadership development programs. Dr. Cargill is also an advocate for women in science as he actively participates in WiSE-Guys, an organization of men partnering with Women in Science Exchange (WiSE) to advance equality for women in STEM and leadership roles.

Poster Competition Winners

1st Prize: Anna Casto

2nd Prize: April DeMell

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