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Strategic Partnership Attracts Plant Genomics Expert to Region

Joint hiring initiative between Donald Danforth Plant Science Center and University of Missouri to strengthen regional plant science and education

December 15th, 2015

Story Contact: Nathan Hurst, 573-882-6217,

COLUMBIA, MO – Officials from the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis and the University of Missouri announced today the joint hiring of Blake Meyers, currently the Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Delaware. The collaborative initiative aims to elevate plant science to address global challenges.

“I am looking forward to building on the tradition of great plant science research and education at these two institutions,” Meyers said. “This opportunity was very attractive because of the unique combination of strengths, the outstanding colleagues at both institutions, the research and core facilities at the Danforth Center, the opportunity to mentor students at MU, and the chance to have greater impact through entirely new types of collaboration.”

Meyers is the first of four hires as part of a joint faculty initiative, announced last November, to attract accomplished scientists focused on cutting-edge plant science and agriculture innovation to both institutions. The new faculty members will have joint appointments and be eligible for tenure at MU. Meyers will be housed at the Danforth Center.

“We are very excited to welcome Blake to our growing plant science community,” Danforth Center president James C. Carrington said. “He is a real innovator in developing genome-wide approaches and technology to understand how plants function and how they resist diseases. He is well known in the field as a tremendous collaborator, and he will elevate the region’s capabilities in digital science that can be applied to improve people’s lives.”

The Danforth Center and MU already work closely together on several major research projects. The addition of Meyers will enhance the two institutions’ abilities to make the groundbreaking discoveries necessary for creating sustainable sources of food and energy and training the next generation of plant scientists.

“We are very excited that the collaboration between the Danforth Center and MU has resulted in our first outstanding hire,” said Hank Foley, MU interim chancellor. “This is exactly the kind of result we envisioned that the partnership would yield. Blake is an outstanding scientist, scholar, teacher and mentor, and he will add substantially to our joint venture for many decades to come.”

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Meyers to Missouri’s plant science community,” said Bob Sharp, director of MU’s Interdisciplinary Plant Group (IPG) and professor of plant sciences. “Blake’s outstanding research and professional contributions will enhance our culture of interdisciplinary collaboration and integration in the plant sciences.”

Meyers received his undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Chicago, master’s and doctoral degrees in genetics at University of California-Davis, and received postdoctoral training at DuPont Crop Genetics and UC Davis. He has served through the professor ranks at the University of Delaware since 2002 and also as chair of the Department of Plant & Soil Sciences.

“We are very pleased that Dr. Meyers will soon become a faculty member within the division,” said Jim English, interim director of the MU Division of Plant Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. “Dr. Meyers’ joint appointment with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center offers great potential for expanding collaborations across the spectrum of Missouri’s nationally and internationally prominent plant science community.”

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 Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

To keep up to date with Danforth Center’s current operations and areas of research, please visit,, featuring information on Center scientists, news, and the “Roots & Shoots” blog. Follow us on Twitter at @DanforthCenter.