2022 Speakers

Dr. Jun Wu

Dr. Jun Wu is an assistant professor in the department of molecular biology at UT southwestern medical center. Dr. Wu’s work has contributed to the development of novel culture systems and methods that enable the generation of new stem cells for basic and translational studies. Dr. Wu has expanded the spectrum of pluripotent states by capturing mouse pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) with distinct molecular and phenotypic features from different developmental stages. And some of these culture conditions developed in mice enabled the generation of PSCs from many other mammalian species, including humans, non-human primates, and ungulates. In addition, Dr. Wu has developed an efficient and versatile blastocyst complementation system for in vivo generation of functional tissues and organs from cultured PSCs, and several stem cell derived blastocyst models (blastoids). Dr. Wu has received several awards including UT southwestern endowed scholar, CPRIT scholar and NYSCF-Robertson Stem Cell Investigator award. 

Dr. Guo-qing Song

Dr. Guo-qing Song is a professor of horticulture at Michigan State University (MSU). He obtained his Ph. D. Degree from China Agricultural University and worked in France and Japan before joining MSU. He has overseen the activities in the Plant Biotechnology Resource and Outreach Center (PBROC) of Michigan State University since 2003. The PBROC has, to date, successfully transformed 27 plant species (i.e., blueberry, cherry, celery, and common bean). Dr. Song’s research interest is “Developing and utilizing new biotechnological tools for plant breeding”. He has been using intragenic, transgrafting, FAST-TRACK breeding, MADS-box K-domain technology, and gene editing for horticultural plant improvement.

Dr. Wusheng Liu

Dr. Wusheng Liu is an assistant professor in Translational Genomics and Plant Bioengineering within the Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University. He grew up in China and finished his BS degree in Landscape Architecture and MS degree in Botany at Northeast Forestry University. He obtained his PhD degree in Botany at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, followed by a postdoc training and a non-tenure track assistant professor position there. Currently, the Liu laboratory is interested in (1) the development of novel approaches for non-GMO, genotype-independent delivery of the CRISPR/Cas9 system into crops for gene editing; (2) the understanding of the molecular mechanisms of agronomic traits including seed size, fruit lycopene content, and tomato bacterial wilt resistance; and (3) crop trait engineering using genetic engineering and gene editing such as modified flowering patterns in camelina and rose rosette virus resistance.

Dr. Robert Jinkerson

Robert Jinkerson is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering and a cooperating faculty member in Botany and Plant Sciences at the University of California, Riverside. His group is broadly interested in algae and plants because these photosynthetic organisms have huge economic and environmental importance. His research aims to make fundamental discoveries about the biology of these organisms and then use this knowledge to engineer solutions to problems in the fields of food, energy, and the environment. Current projects in the lab include genome engineering tomatoes for space flight applications and controlled environment agriculture, creating artificial photosynthesis systems for food production, functional genomics in green algae, and discovering the molecular mechanisms of coral-algal symbiosis. Robert received his B.S. in Biological Engineering at the University of Missouri, a Ph.D. in Applied Chemistry from the Colorado School of Mines, and was a Simons Foundation fellow of the Life Sciences Research Foundation in the Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution, at Stanford University. Robert is a recipient of the 2020 New Innovator in Food & Agriculture Research Award by the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR). Robert is also a co-founder of Chi Botanic, a Bay Area plant cellular agriculture company that aims to transform the way we produce products from plants.

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