39 North Innovation District Plan Unveiled
The Science in Our Food
(St. Louis Business Journal) Danforth Center to take discoveries to market with new hire Don MacKenzie is tasked overseeing the regulatory processes to bring the Danforth Center's technologies to market.
Friday, April 13, 2018 READ MORE
(St. Louis Post-Dispatch) 39 North plant science district gets trail, road planning funds Plans are in motion to rework roads and improve incubator space
Friday, March 2, 2018 READ MORE
(Ag Professional) The Future of Ag Tech in the Midwest
The development of new technology in agriculture has helped encourage young people
Tuesday, February 20, 2018 READ MORE
(Agri-Pulse) Who is leading the charge for new precision breeding tools?
Plenty of precision breeding innovation
(St. Louis Public Radio) St. Louis plant scientists use podcast to dig deep into the struggles of research
Researchers Liz Haswell and Ivan Baxter spend most their time trying to understand how plants function.
Monday, January 8, 2018 READ MORE
(HEC-TV) New Smart Crop-Monitoring Platform Alerts Farmers & Growers About Their Crops
Researchers at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center have created a crop phenotyping station called the PheNode.
Wednesday, January 3, 2018 READ MORE
(KMOX) C-Speak Podcast: Sam Fiorello
Mark Reardon talks with Sam Fiorello on the C-Speak Podcast, the language of executives by KMOX
Friday, December 29, 2017 READ MORE
(Talking Biotech Podcast) Control of Aflatoxin in Groundnut
Dilip Shah and a team of researchers worked to devise a multi-faceted plan to protect groundnut from fungal infections.
Saturday, December 23, 2017 READ MORE
(MIT Technology Review) These Are Not Your Father's GMOS
A new wave of gene-edited crops are dodging regulators, and they're about to reach stores.
Thursday, December 21, 2017 READ MORE
New Hire to Advance Human Resources
Danforth Center Welcomes Anna Dibble
Wednesday, November 29, 2017 READ MORE
(Forbes) Collaboration Provides Hope In The Battle Against Mycotoxin Induced Cancer In The Developing World
There is new hope for a solution to this vexing health issue based on a recent collaboration between groups of scientists in the US and in India.
Saturday, November 4, 2017 READ MORE
(AgFunder News) Is St. Louis the Silicon Valley of Agtech?
St. Louis has worked hard to be a magnet for Fortune 500 companies. Nine members of this elite class call the city home, not the least of which is multinational agricultural giant Monsanto.
Thursday, November 2, 2017 READ MORE
DuPont Pioneer and Danforth Center Collaborate to Apply Cutting-Edge Technologies to Improve Crops for Smallholder Farmers
The suite of technologies DuPont Pioneer is providing to the project is revolutionary
Tuesday, October 17, 2017 READ MORE
National Science Foundation Funds Multi-Institutional Project to Improve Harvests of One of the Most Important Crops in U.S. Agriculture
Danforth Center Receives $3.4M to Improve Maize Architecture
Wednesday, October 11, 2017 READ MORE
U.S. Department of Energy Awards Danforth Center $16M to Enhance Sorghum for Bioenergy A multi-institutional research effort aims to optimize photosynthesis and water use efficiency
Monday, October 2, 2017 READ MORE
TechAccel Invests in Unique Sprayable RNAi Pesticide Technology First “Path to Commercialization” Grant Awarded to Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Monday, September 11, 2017 READ MORE
Why a St. Louis event could be one of agtech’s biggest disruptors: 4 questions with Bayer's R&D head
Monday marks the start of the ninth annual Ag Innovation Showcase.
Monday, September 11, 2017 READ MORE
The Future of Agriculture is Center Stage at Ag Innovation Showcase
Bees, new food sources and machine learning are leading trends
Thursday, August 31, 2017 READ MORE
(St. Louis Business Journal) Greitens touts Israeli relationship as economic generator
St. Louis is already home to a number of Israeli-founded companies that have moved to the area thanks to GlobalSTL, an initiative started and organized by BioSTL several years ago.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 READ MORE
Analysis Linking Field and Controlled Environments Reveals Key Traits Controlling Height
Discovery could help improve yield in food and bioenergy crops
Monday, July 10, 2017 READ MORE
The Danforth Center’s Infographics serve as an additional resource on a variety of topics showcasing data, factual information and detailed visuals.
Danforth Center scientists are regularly interviewed and featured in the media as expert sources on a variety of topics. Read about the Danforth Center in the news. News of their discoveries is regularly highlighted in news releases and in our publications.
The Danforth Center Office of Public Affairs is available to set up interviews with Danforth Center scientists and assist in developing story ideas about their research.
Quick facts about the Danforth Plant Science Center.
Discover more about our research and community.
Brief summary of Danforth Center scientists.
Brief video tours of our facilities.
Roots & Shoots March Guest Blogger, Jeffrey Berry, Senior Computational Scientist, in the Bart Lab.
Until I was 22 years old, my family owned 88 acres of land in the middle of nowhere in Illinois. It was our little paradise. On this typical Midwestern farm we grew wheat, soybean, and corn. We had apple trees, a pear tree and a lake where we could catch fish. But my favorite thing about the farm wasn’t fishing or apple picking. My favorite thing standing in the middle of our fields and just looking out over all the crops. Sometimes I’d stay out there for hours. Or at least until my dog got bored and wanted to go exploring. Many of the people working here at the Danforth Center have a personal connection to agriculture and I am no different. We sold the farm in 2013 but there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about being there, looking out over a field of wheat making waves in the wind.
Many people don’t really think about all the work, effort and risk involved in growing crops or the significant impact on a farmer when something happens to reduce the harvest. We didn’t have many problems keeping our plants healthy and happy but there were certainly times when this was not the case. I remember one particularly bad year, when my family was stressed about how we were going to get the money together to keep the farm going because the yields that year didn’t bring in enough money to prepare us for next planting and pay the taxes on the land. Every family that operates a farm has experienced this struggle. It is a real fear, every single year.
Fast forward to today, where I’m working in Bart Lab at the Danforth Center. I’m part of a growing computational community where I focus in projects that aim to curb the problem of plant disease. But I’m not working at lab bench with pipettes and beakers like you may imagine a plant scientist would be doing. I work with bundles of 50,000 pictures taken in our Bellwether Phenotyping Facility and I look at every single one of them to understand how the plant is responding to stresses like bacteria in the soil. Of course I don’t do this by hand. I write computer code that looks at all the pictures and produces numerical data that I further process to produce growth curves. Doing this allows us to quantify how the plants are responding to the experimental conditions. I also work with DNA sequencing data to identify why, at a genetic level, particular bacteria seem to affect some plants strongly while others not at all.
We’re searching for plants that are resistant to pathogenic bacteria and we’re also looking for growth promoting bacteria, much like probiotics in humans. If we succeed in our research goals, we can develop crops for farmers that are more resistant to the diseases in their area, and probiotics they can apply to increase their harvests.
This work takes time, patience, curiosity and creativity. I feel fortunate to work with talented colleagues and have access to cutting-edge technology here at the Danforth Center. I believe we can succeed and help farmers in the Midwest as well as across the globe. And that inspires me every day.
| ComputationalPlant DiseasePhenotypingfarmingGuest BloggerBart lab