Danforth Center’s “Conversations” Series Continues

Regional Efforts to Address Global Water Availability and the Impact on Agriculture

ST. LOUIS, MO, May 17, 2013 – Part two of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center’s "Conversations" series, sponsored by Boeing, will continue on Thursday, May 23, 2013 with a reception at 5:15 p.m. and the program at 6:00 p.m. at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, 975 N. Warson Road.  The program will feature Dr. Tom Brutnell, Director of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center; and Dr. Bob Sharp, Professor of Plant Sciences and Director of the Interdisciplinary Plant Group (IPG) at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU).

As resources like fresh water continue to deplete, accelerating plant science research and innovation will be critical to increasing agriculture productivity to meet the food and energy needs of a growing world population

In part two of the Conversations series, the discussion will focus on water availability and explore regional efforts to improve agriculture sustainability by developing crops that yield more per acre with fewer inputs such as water.

At the reception, Dr. Sharp and several of his students will showcase their research with a special display illustrating the arrest of root growth in the dry soil and the resulting effect on plant lodging under drought in the field.   

If you missed part one of the Conversations series, Water Availability and the Impact on Global Agriculture, you can view the program here.

To join us for an enlightening discussion moderated by Dr. Jim Davis, Professor Emeritus from Washington University, reserve your spot today!  Reservations are required but complimentary; seating is limited.  To attend, please phone: 314-587-1070 or email: conversations@danforthcenter.org or reserve online.

Learn more about water availability’s impact on agriculture through our infographic here.

About the Speakers

Dr. Tom Brutnell, Director of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center,

The Brutnell lab’s primary objective is to expand research to include the use of model plant systems to improve photosynthetic efficiencies in emerging bioenergy feedstocks such as miscanthus and switchgrass, as well as improving yield in existing crops such as maize, sorghum, and sugarcane. This expanded focus complements the Center’s ongoing algal research and has provided new opportunities for forming academic and industrial partnerships. Brutnell is also the Chief Scientific Officer of Benson Hill Biosystems, an agricultural biotechnology company dedicated to advancing biotech-based traits to increase intrinsic yield. Prior to joining the Danforth Center in 2011, he was a scientist at Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research. In 2012 Brutnell was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut and Ph.D. from Yale University.

Dr. Robert (Bob) Sharp, Professor of Plant sciences and Director of the Interdisciplinary Plant Group (IPG) at the University of Missouri-Columbia (MU),

After completing his postdoctoral work at the University of Illinois-Urbana and the University of California-Davis, Sharp joined the faculty at MU in 1986. His specialty is the vitally important involvement of roots in plant adaptation to drought. His current research includes “scaling up” from fundamental lab-based discoveries of root growth regulation under water deficit stress to address the complexity of root development under drought in the field. Tackling this frontier is a critical step toward the goal of improving crop production under drought conditions. Sharp served as Director of the Division of Plant Sciences at MU, and in 2011 he was appointed Director of the IPG, which is a collaborative research and education community involving 57 faculty-led teams from multiple divisions/departments across the campus. In 2007, Sharp was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He received both his undergraduate degree and Ph.D. from Lancaster University in the United Kingdom.

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Karla Roeber, (314) 587-1231
kroeber@danforthcenter.org
Melanie Bernds, (314) 587-1647
mbernds@danforthcenter.org

About The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a not-for-profit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science.  Research at the Danforth Center will feed the hungry and improve human health, preserve and renew the environment, and enhance the St. Louis region and Missouri as a world center for plant science.  The Center’s work is funded through competitive grants and contract revenue from many sources, including the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Agency for International Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center invites you to visit its new website, www.danforthcenter.org, featuring interactive information on the Center scientistsnewseducation outreach and “Roots & Shoots” blog help keep visitors up to date with Center’s current operations and areas of research.  Follow us on Twitter at @DanforthCenter.

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About Us

About The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a not-for-profit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Research at the Danforth Center will feed the hungry and improve human health, preserve and renew the environment, and enhance the St. Louis region and Missouri as a world center for plant science. The Danforth Center’s work is funded through competitive grants and contract revenue from many sources, including the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Agency for International Development, the Howard Buffett Foundation, the Monsanto Fund and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information please visit www.danforthcenter.org, featuring interactive information on the Center’s scientists, news and research. Follow us on Twitter at @DanforthCenter.

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