The members of the IICI team represent a broad range of product development and delivery expertise, including regulatory affairs, project coordination, biosafety, nutrition and communication. 

Don MacKenzie, Ph.D., Executive Director

Don MacKenzie is an international expert in regulatory systems for agriculture, including environmental risk assessment, biosafety and food safety assessments. His extensive experience in plant product development and global regulatory processes aligns with the Institute’s commitment to collaborate with international and local partner organizations to deliver crops with improved nutritional content and disease resistance to places where people are in most need. Don joined the Danforth Center from the International Rice Research Institute where he spent three years as a Regulatory Affairs and Stewardship Leader on the Golden Rice Project. His proven track record of working with diverse stakeholder groups to achieve progressive policy outcomes was critical in his role as the Canola Global Regulatory Lead at Dupont Pioneer and Regulatory Affairs Leader for Dupont Pioneer Canada, where he provided direction and coordination across all regulatory and registration activities for canola globally. Prior, he was the Executive Vice President at Agbios, Inc., and coordinated biotechnology policy within the Health Protection Branch as the Health Canada Head, Science Policy Division. In 2012, Don was named the International 2012 Leadership and Excellence in Agriculture by CropLife. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

Nigel Taylor, Ph.D., Member and Dorothy J. King Distinguished Investigator

Nigel Taylor is the Dorothy J. King Distinguished Investigator and Senior Research Scientist at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and is principal investigator of the Virus Resistant Cassava for Africa (VIRCA) project. Prior to joining the Danforth Center, Nigel worked at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. His expertise centers on the plant tissue culture and the genetic transformation technologies required to deliver genetically improved cassava to famers in East and West Africa. A native of Scotland, Nigel received his bachelor’s degree in botany from University of Glasgow and his Ph.D. in plant tissue culture from the University of Bath, United Kingdom. 

Getu Beyene Duguma, Ph.D., Cassava Pipeline Research Manager

Getu Duguma has been with the Danforth Center since January 2012. As the Cassava Pipeline Research Manager, his responsibilities include managing molecular and trait characterization of transgenic lines for the VIRCA and BioCassava Plus projects; and supervising production and quality control of genetic constructs in both projects and the technical staff performing plant analysis in the IICI Trait Improvement Laboratory. He also provides mentoring and technical support to visiting scholars. Before joining the Danforth Center, Getu worked at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa as a postdoctoral fellow on the African Biofortified Sorghum (ABS) Project hosted by Pioneer Hi-Bred/DuPont; and previously at Texas AgriLife Research (Part of Texas A&M University Systems) where he worked on the development of abiotic stress tolerant Saccharum spp. Getu obtained his B.S. and M.S. degrees in plant sciences from Alemaya University, Ethiopia where he served as a lecturer. He earned his Ph.D. at the Forestry Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) of the University of Pretoria, South Africa.