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Mission Statement

Climate change, increasing global living standards and yield plateaus are creating a perfect storm for agriculture.  At Viridis Genomics Consulting our mission is to help you and your lab or business navigate the complexities of modern agricultural science to deliver sustainable solutions that will increase crop yields, deliver higher quality traits or open new market opportunities.  We provide a range of academic and corporate services to help you accelerate the scientific discovery process and expand your IP portfolio.  

Viridis Genomics Consulting

As founder of Viridis Genomics Consulting, I bring over 25 years experience in plant biotechnology to help inform and critically assess biotechnology ideas and applications.  I have witnessed the step changes in scientific technology that moved us from amplifying a gene by PCR to sequencing a genome.  As a Principal Investigator at the Boyce Thompson Institute, Cornell University and at the Danforth Plant Science Center, and now as CEO of Viridis Genomics Consulting,  I have had the privilege of working with the world's leading scientists to solve global challenges in food security, human nutrition and sustainable agricultural production.  Through research grants totaling over $50 million, I have helped drive discovery in maize, rice, sorghum and most recently Setaria viridis, an emerging model system for the grasses.


In 2012, I co-founded Benson Hill Biosystems with Matt Crisp and Todd Mockler.  By leveraging my academic and industry experience, I led the R&D discovery platform development team and helped establish several corporate partnerships to vertically integrate the Benson Hill discovery pipeline with market opportunities.   

As we move to the next generation of crop engineering, I am excited to think of the possibilities in precision crop design.  To tailor food, feed and bioenergy crops to meet specific end uses and to do this using fewer inputs and resources is an opportunity now in hand.  It is truly an exciting time in agriculture.  Wether you are in academia or in industry,  I'm looking forward to working with your team!

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The Value of Viridis Genomics Consulting

With over 25 years experience in academia and as co-founder of the ag biotech company Benson Hill Biosystems, I can provide unique insight for  Academic Services and Corporate Services to best leverage resources and drive discovery science and product development.

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Academic Services

Discovery. Funding. Publishing.

I will work with you to develop well-defined plant genomic research projects that capitalize on the latest genome sequencing and editing technologies to both drive gene discovery and to engineer improved traits.  My areas of expertise include photosynthesis, genomics, transcriptomics and genome editing. I am also happy to work with you on areas outside of my expertise to identify potential collaborators and discuss technical approaches to enhance crop productivity, nutrition or stress tolerance.

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The Path to Success

In academia or industry, collaboration accelerates discovery and innovation.  A new perspective, discovery, or technology can inspire and drive innovative solutions for scientific challenges.  I will work with you to tackle complex agricultural challenges from bioenergy to sustainable food production to develop innovative approaches for scientific R&D.  I have experience in establishing a new genetic model system, developing high throughput forward and reverse genetics platforms and optimizing new -omics technologies for plant systems.  We were one of the first groups to use RNAseq analysis to characterize the maize transcriptome and have developed computational approaches for comparative plant genomics.  Most recently, I helped lead a consortium of scientists to sequence the W22 genome.  To see this and many more publications please  see  my bibliography

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Hypothesis Driven Science

Grant writing can often be the biggest barrier to realizing your potential in academia - wether it is a lack of time or a mental hurdle to get the ball rolling - failure to act quickly in response to proposal calls or an inability to assemble the best team quickly will reduce your chances of success.  I will work with you to help develop concepts, suggest collaborators and best frame your ideas in the context of emerging themes in agricultural science.  Though my strengths are in grass genomics, transcriptomics, photosynthesis and abiotic stress tolerance, I would be happy to discuss other topics or strategies with you to help troubleshoot ideas and identify collaborators.   Over the past five years, I have led or co-led multiple successful grant proposals to the following agencies: USDA/NIFA, NSF, DOE, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and DARPA. I am happy to share with you effective strategies to develop highly competitive proposals.

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Clear, Concise Writing with Impact

The currency of academic science is often publication. A paper in a high profile journal can often mean the difference between getting that next grant or struggling to maintain your research program.  It is often a stressful and demanding process especially for non-native English speakers or new PI's to not only to pull the experimental data together into an effective narrative, but to also navigate the editorial process from a well-crafted cover letter to producing a concise and accurate description of the experimental results and developing an insightful and creative discussion that places one's work in the context of the most exciting science in the field.  As a co-author of over 100 publications including those in Science, Nature, Nature Genetics, Nature Biotechnology, Plant Cell, Plant Physiology, Plant Journal, PNAS and several editorials and reviews, I can provide helpful guidance on both structuring the manuscript, defining critical experiments and controls and working with you through the submission process.

Corporate Services

Strategy. Due diligence. Technological innovation

With over 25 years experience in the field of plant science, I have used a diversity of plant systems and technologies in my own research to address fundamental biological questions and have tackled several applied research challenges related to product development.  I have consulted for both major seed companies and several start-up companies in plant biotechnology. I have helped interpret experimental results and design hypothesis driven experiments for mode of action studies.

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In academia or industry, collaboration accelerates discovery and innovation.  A new perspective, recent discovery, or counter-argument can inspire and drive innovative solutions for scientific challenges.  I will work with you tackle complex agricultural challenges from bioenergy to sustainable food production to develop innovative approaches for scientific R&D.  This could include help in crafting federal grant proposals (e.g. STTR or SBIR) or in developing an R&D platform through consultation with members of my network of academic scientists and leading corporations to define the challenges and when necessary help find the best partnerships to solve complex logisitcal challenges.

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Due Diligence

I will work with you under a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or confidentiality agreement to help assess your technology and its potential impact in the field.  This could include on site visits to talk with your team members to perform a "deep dive" on the technology and conduct an independent assessment of the technology and its potential impact on the scientific field.

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Technological Innovation to Drive Discovery and Application

From my early days in the lab through today, I have always been interested in applying new technologies to understand biological processes.  As a graduate student, I was one of the first plant scientists to develop a quantitative PCR assay to measure gene expression in plants (Brutnell et al. 1994). Later, as a PI at the Boyce Thompson Institute, my team helped develop statistical tools to analyze microarray data for plant gene expression (Sawers et al. 2007), develop wet lab protocols for RNAseq library construction (Wang et al. 2009) and computational methods to monitor global changes in plant gene expression (Schnable et al. 2009, Li et al. 2010, Wang et al. 2014).


Today, the challenge of integrating phenotypic variation with metabolomic, proteomic and transcriptomic datasets presents new challenges and tremendous opportunities for industry. I will work with you to develop frameworks for both gene discovery and applications that use -omics datasets to define targets for engineering.   I am also very excited about the potential of genome editing technology to rewire the plant genome and want to work with you and your team to explore the full potential of this technology on crop design.   

Contact Me

Viridis Genomics Consulting
P.O. Box 430
Chesterfield, MO 63006-0430

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