39 North Innovation District Plan Unveiled
The Science in Our Food
In Science, By Jason Rosenbaum, Beacon Staff
When Jane Hill came to the Danforth Plant Science Center for the first time last month, she was impressed by what she saw. That’s good, considering the distance she traveled.
Hill is the chief executive officer for CropLogic, a New Zealand-based company that provides online crop management services for potato farmers. She was in st. Louis for the Ag Innovation Showcase, which has become a major event for the plant sciences industry. “I was not aware of the importance of St. Louis (in plant science) until (it was) made known to me through the Showcase,” Hill said.
“I’m very thrilled we were selected … to get in. We’ve been making contacts with investors looking to raise capital. And we’ve been talking with some parties to have opportunities for partnerships,” she said.
At a time when federal and state budget cuts have made governmental-based funding more scarce, the Danforth Center has managed to delve into major plant science research initiatives with the help of public grants, private foundations and corporations. The center has recruited eminent scientists; supplied needed equipment and space to small companies; and continually hosted one of the field’s most important annual conferences.
Sam Fiorello is the COO and senior vice president of the center, which, he said possesses “a critical mass.” “If you measure by publications, by peer reviewed grant awards — we’re best in class. We’re involved in basic science, intermediate science, translational science and science that then turns into startup companies for commercialization,” Fiorello said.
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