2018: Dan Voytas
Gene-Editing and Advancing Agricultural Development in the 21st Century
Wednesday, April 25, 2018 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm
Albert M. Bender Room, Bing Wing
Cecil H. Green Library, Stanford University
Dr. Voytas, Professor of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development at the University of Minnesota, co-inventor of TALEN gene-editing technology, and Chief Technology Officer of Calyxt, will discuss the rapid advancement of plant gene-editing and its implications for global agriculture. A leading expert on plant genetics and an entrepreneur whose company went public in 2017, Dr. Voytas will examine the role that technologies such as TALEN and CRISPR are having in the development of healthier food and non-GMO plants with agriculturally advantageous traits.
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.
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.
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