NEW Article Series

What got you into this business?

We thought we would add something new, personal and interesting to the IVR.  We sent out emails to people asking them:

“I am writing a small quarterly column including a short statement, one or two sentences, describing how “we” all ended up in this business.  What was the one deciding factor that made you turn to “the in vitro side”?

Would you be willing to share something like that?  It can be anonymous or not but would really help make the IVR a lot more interesting.”

Here are some responses:

Vicki Gustafson:
I had a fantastic genetics teacher as an undergrad.  He asked me if I  wanted to be a grad student and I said “yes”.  I had absolutely no idea what Plant Tissue Culture even was….That was 24 years ago and I still love playing with plants.

Ron Rothrock
To be honest with you I fell into tissue culture by accident.  That is not to say that I don’t enjoy it, because I do.  When I started grad school I was studying forestry.  I wanted to be outside in the woods for my future job.  As it turns out, my major professor (Chuck Maynard – was working on genetically modifying American chestnut embryos in order to give them blight resistance.  As some people may know, chestnut blight nearly wiped out the America chestnut.  American chestnut was the dominant forest tree throughout much of the country east of the Mississippi.  It was very rewarding to work on such a noble project.  I might not have enjoyed the tedium involved with such a project otherwise.  In the end I spent 1 ½ years working with tissue culture on the chestnut project.  I graduated in 2006 and I enjoyed it so much I have stayed with TC.  It has the elements of science, but it also has an element of “art” to it as well and this is what keeps it from becoming boring.  Those who are doing TC will understand what I mean.

Now I’m glad to have chosen to stay with TC for I have gotten lucky enough to get into an even more rewarding project.  I now am working for a company that is working with energy crops (  Not only is it rewarding to be working on a project that is going to change the world, but TC is going to be a part of that change.  To anyone who thinks TC is only a hobby, think again.  TC is going to save the world!

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