Danforth Center Expands Innovation Team

New hire to focus on two key programs connecting startups with infrastructure and scientific expertise to derisk new technologies

ST. LOUIS, MO, January 13, 2022 – The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center today announced that Elliott Kellner, PhD, has joined the Center as Director of Commercial Innovation. As part of the Innovation Team, Kellner manages the Danforth Center’s Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) and Center for AgTech and Location Science Technologies (CATALST) programs that support early-stage agtech companies on their path to market and further develop the regional innovation ecosystem.

Kellner is a scientific professional with experience developing and managing partnerships, leading multi-institutional efforts, and promoting collaborative programs. After completing his doctoral program at the University of Missouri in 2015, Kellner served as a research scientist and faculty member at West Virginia University. As Chesapeake Bay Science Advisor, he spent three years supporting the efforts of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service to mitigate the impacts of agriculture on water resources.

Elliott Kellner, PhD, Senior Program Manager on the Innovation Team at the Danforth Center

“I am thrilled to welcome Elliott to the Danforth Center. Under his leadership, we will grow the impact of the IN2 and CATALST programs which will simultaneously bring new innovations to farmers and new companies to our region,” said Stephanie Regagnon, executive director of Innovation Partnerships.

The Wells Fargo IN2 program is a partnership between the Danforth Center, Wells Fargo Foundation and National Renewable Energy Laboratory that represents a unification of philanthropy and impact investing with innovation and economic development. The mission of IN2 is to speed the path to market for early-stage, clean-technology entrepreneurs. Through this partnership, the Danforth Center pairs startups with its scientists and access to core facilities to conduct research to validate early-stage technologies, positioning them to attract investment, and talent necessary to grow their companies to commercial scaleSince 2018, the IN2 has supported 16 agtech companies totaling $4M. 

The CATALST is a collaborative project between the Danforth Center, BioSTL and T-REX that aims to capitalize on the demand for new precision ag technologies by tapping into the St. Louis region’s expertise in agtech and location science to fuel innovation and entrepreneurship and to advance ideas to commercialization. The Danforth Center supports proof-of-concept field research partnerships between Center scientists and early-stage companies to validate and de-risk their agriculture technology applications, such as remote imaging and sensing, smart devices and predictive data analytics, powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning.  

About the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a not-for-profit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Research, education, and outreach aim to have impact at the nexus of food security and the environment and position the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science. The Center’s work is funded through competitive grants from many sources, including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Follow us on Twitter at @DanforthCenter.


For more information contact: 

Karla Roeber, Vice President, Public and Government Affairs,  kroeber@danforthcenter.org, +1 314.406.4287