On Oct. 9, the West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design will welcome an award-winning plant geneticist to campus to discuss the importance of microbes in all facets of life.
Ken Feldmann, director of the School of Plant Sciences at the University of Arizona, will present a lecture entitled “Designer Microbes, Plants, Organs and Babies,” at 7 p.m. in 1021 South Agricultural Sciences Building.
As part of his presentation, Feldmann will discuss the fast-paced nature of science and how it relates to the importance of microbes in the health of plants and animals, especially humans, using microbes to remediate toxins in the environment, and how to use them to generate drugs and other materials that can be genetically encoded. He’ll also cover oft-controversial topics of GMO plants, printed organs and embryo selection.
Born and raised on a dairy farm in Northeast Iowa, Feldmann received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Northern Iowa, and his doctorate in genetics from The Ohio State University.
After graduating from OSU, he continued his work in genetics as a postdoctoral associate at Zoecon Institute in Palo Alto, California, and then as a principal investigator in the Plant Sciences Group at DuPont in Wilmington, Delaware.
He later became an assistant professor at the University of Arizona where his career continued to blossom.
An award-winning scientist who pioneered insertion mutagenesis allowing for the first time the efficient identification and isolation of specific genes from plants, Feldmann’s research discoveries have had tremendous impact on the sciences and agriculture.
After moving up the faculty ranks at the University of Arizona and serving as chair of the Graduate Program in Genetics, he accepted a position at Ceres, Inc., a biotechnology company in Thousand Oaks, California, where he advanced to Vice President of Research and Development.
In 2009, Feldmann returned to the University of Arizona to serve as Director of the School of Plant Sciences. Most recently, he returned to the faculty to continue his research program and serve as instructor for a very popular biotechnology course on the UA campus.
The event, which is free and open to the public, is part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the genetics and developmental biology program. Prior to the lecture, Joginder Nath, professor emeritus and founder, will be recognized for his contributions and dedication to the program. A reception will follow.
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