April 6-7, 2017 | Lincoln, Nebraska
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2017 NRIC speakers
portrait of Sally Mackenzie


Dr. Sally Mackenzie
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Contemplating commercial implications of plant epigenetics research
3:15 - 3:45 pm, Thursday 6 April 2017
Contemplating commercial avenues for academic research can be challenging. Generally the process grows serendipitously and requires attention to practical implications of fundamental research. Consideration of licensing, selection of investor models, and plotting a plan toward commercialization are concepts in which academics are generally unfamiliar. My group has participated over the past two years in the initiation of a new company that addresses opportunities in epigenetic crop breeding. I will describe some of the research observations that prompted the pursuit of this path.

Sally Mackenzie is currently the Ralph and Alice Raikes Chair of Plant Science at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research over the past several years has focused on the influence of non-genetic variation on plant behavior and whether it is feasible to capture agricultural value from exploiting crop epigenetic variation. Her laboratory has developed a system permitting the induction of epigenetic changes in plants that confer enhanced crop productivity and abiotic stress tolerance. Originally from California, she received graduate training at the University of Florida, and was on the faculty at Purdue University from 1988 to 1999. She was also Founding Director for the Center for Plant Science Innovation at UNL from 1999 to 2010. She currently serves as President for the American Society of Plant Biologists and Director for the National Plant Science Council.