Chris Topp: Exploring the Hidden Half

Growing up in Chino, California, Chris Topp describes himself as very much a suburban kid:

“I knew that food came from 7-11. I never thought about where water comes from, where food really comes from.” It wasn’t until age 19, when he had an uncomfortable revelation about his chicken sandwich, that he became interested in the origins of things—and became a vegetarian.

While at the University of Georgia pursuing a genetics degree, Chris began studying plant pathogens. Interested in cutting-edge and emerging technologies, he worked as a research tech in an NSF-funded plant science lab to develop artificial chromosomes, an example of early synthetic biology. In grad school, he focused on maize, realizing that this crop could have the biggest impact: “In the U.S., there are about 90 million acres of corn planted each year. At an average density of 30,000 plants per acre, that’s 2.7 trillion corn plants. It’s been said there are more corn seeds planted each year than stars in the Milky Way.”

Learn more about Chris and his journey here!

Everything you see above ground is supported and nourished by what's underground.

Chris Topp, PhD,