Kansas State University
Dr. Jessica Rupp is an Assistant Professor of Plant Pathology at Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS. She received a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from Kansas State University in 2015, which was followed by a faculty position at Montana State University in the Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology as a researcher and Extension Plant Pathologist. Dr. Rupp’s previous research focused on genetic improvement of wheat and potato using in vitro culture and biotechnological approaches. Her current research is directed towards applied wheat pathology. Dr. Rupp is also actively involved in teaching and mentorship. Dr. Rupp has a long association with the Society for In Vitro Biology (SIVB). Her first meeting was in 2010. She was the recipient of the 2021 Early Career Award from SIVB.
Dr. Veena Veena was born and raised in New Delhi, India. Veena has been always fascinated with plants – both from the diversity perspective and their ability to tolerate, optimize, and grow under conditions that we need to shelter for survival. This curiosity led Dr. Veena to focus more on the botany and biology of plants from her early education. She continued her passion for the plants when she got an opportunity to pursue PhD research on how plants tolerate unfavorable conditions at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi – a premier public institution for advanced study in India. Her PhDresearch focused on the molecular and functional characterization of glyoxalase I in plants under the supervision of Prof. Sudhir Sopory (former Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, recipient of several prestigious awards for scientific contributions, including Padma Shri, a highest civilian award from the Government of India). After finishing her PhD, Veena joined the lab of Prof. Stan Gelvin at Purdue University, a leading researcher in Agrobacterium-mediated plant transformation. After spending six years at Purdue, Veena joined the lab of Dr. Chris Taylor at Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. Both at Purdue and Danforth Center, Veena’s research focused on understanding the molecular basis of Agrobacterium-mediated transformation and hairy root formation. In 2008, Dr. Veena joined Monsanto (now Bayer) as a Senior Scientist and contributed towards the development of novel, high-throughput tools for the evaluation of genes, promoter elements for binary vectors, genome-modification technologies for plant transformation pipeline, and establishment of the selectable-marker free transgenic pipeline. While at Monsanto, she received cross-functional training in business strategy and an MBA degree from the University of Saint Louis-Missouri. Dr. Veena joined Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Saint Louis, Missouri in 2016 as a Director & Principal Investigator of Plant Transformation Facility. Her research interests include exploring novel approaches for plant genetic engineering and genome modification technologies to enable plant biology research for crop improvement. Her interests also include the business strategy for transgenic product development, technology acquisition, and stewardship of transgenic plants. Her plant transformation core facility collaborates with academic and commercial clients across the globe, helping them test and develop transgenic plants to further their research.
Chris was born and raised in rural Virginia, United States where he grew up on a small family farm raising sweet corn, strawberries, blackberries, pumpkins and beef cattle. That exposure and interest in agriculture propelled Chris to obtain his M.S. in Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences from Virginia Tech. In 2002 Chris joined BASF, RTP, NC where he was first introduced to tissue culture and its application towards developing an agricultural product. During his time at BASF, Chris primarily worked in the maize transformation team and contributed towards the discovery and development of GM traits for yield, improved livestock feed, and maize fungal resistance projects. In 2014, Chris joined Bayer Crop Science, RTP, NC as the Plant Genome Engineering Group Lead and led the transformation team to help discover and develop insecticidal and herbicide resistant GM traits in soybean. In 2019, Chris accepted the position of Director of Plant Transformation, West Lafayette, IN at Inari Agriculture and started the journey to build a production transformation team in a newly opened facility. Chris and his team established transformation platforms to gene edit tomato, soybean and maize with the goal to bring sustainable positive impacts in these crops including increased yield. When not in the tissue culture lab, Chris likes to do a bit of amateur astrophotography as well as culturing coral in his saltwater reef aquarium.
2023 Plant Section Program Chairs
2023 Plant Program Sr. Co-Chair
University of Guelph
2023 Plant Program Jr. Co-Chair
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