Full event video from AGES: The Untold Stories of GMO Pioneers, 9/26/2017

 

Genetic engineering is at an important crossroads. The first generation of researchers and regulators are in many cases still actively working. But the clock is ticking to capture the memories and papers of these pioneering practitioners while they are still willing and able to share. At the same time, a second and third generation of scientists, regulators, marketers, students, and advocates for and against the technology are now active and interested in that history.

In the absence of archives, observers create their own stories unhindered by fact. Gathering original words and memories is a matter of urgency. The GES Center at NC State has brought together the first generation of genetic engineering practitioners and to archive its story for posterity.

Since 2014, we have invited major figures in the scientific, regulatory and advocacy communities shaping genetic engineering to NC State for public talks. In addition to key scientists, we have also included a wide diversity of people in the genetic engineering community, including basic scientists, biotech developers, regulators, policy makers, NGO workers, social scientists, and industry leaders.

Archive Videos

Jennifer Kuzma and Fred Gould

Co-Directors and Distinguished Professors, Genetic Engineering & Society Center, NC State University

Interview date: 5/20/2014
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About: Jennifer Kuzma is the Goodnight-NCGSK Foundation Distinguished Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs, and co-director of the Genetic Engineering and Society Center, at NC State University.  Prior to this, she was associate professor of science and technology policy at the University of Minnesota (2003-2013); study director at the U.S. National Academies of Science (NAS) (1999-2003); and an AAAS Risk Policy Fellow at the USDA (1997-1999). She has over 100 scholarly publications on emerging technologies and governance and has been studying this area for over 25 years.   Kuzma currently serves on several national and international advisory boards, including the World Economic Forum’s Global Futures Council on Technology, Values, and Policy and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Committee on Preparing for Future Biotechnology.  

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She has held several other leadership positions, including the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) Council Member and Secretary, Chair of the Gordon Conference on Science & Technology Policy, Member of the US FDA Blood Products Advisory Committee, and a Member of the UN WHO-FAO Expert Group for Nanotechnologies in Food and Agriculture. In 2014, she received the SRA Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer Award for recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field of risk analysis and in 2017-2018 she was awarded the Fulbright Canada Research Chair in Science Policy at the University of Ottawa.  She is cited and interviewed frequently in the media for her expertise in biotechnology policy, including the New York Times, Science, Nature, NPR, Washington Post, Scientific American, The Boston Globe, PBS Nova, Wired, and ABC & NBC News.

Her research focuses on governance systems for emerging technologies, particularly genetic engineering for environmental, agricultural, health and industrial applications. Currently, emerging technologies are moving at a rapid pace, but often societal responses lag behind. Understanding the social-ecological-technological systems and the underlying dynamics can help to guide decisions-makers and the public towards better governance models. With these goals in mind, she explores the values, organizations, and outcomes associated with existing oversight systems in order to inform future policy-making. Her work draws on developing methods for integrating multiple disciplines in a policy sciences approach. It is also translational, striving to engage and serve stakeholders and citizens who come from a variety of perspectives and expertise areas. As such, she and colleague Professor Fred Gould founded the Genetic Engineering and Society Center to help support bi-directional learning and communication among academe and public and private organizations.

Jennifer earned her B.A. with high honors from the College of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN in Chemistry and Biology and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She went on to become a Life Science Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Plant Molecular Biology at The Rockefeller University in New York. Prior to moving into public policy and social science in 1997, from 1986 to 1997, she was a natural scientist doing research in microbiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. She holds a patent for the discovery of bacterial isoprene emission from her Ph.D. work, and her postdoctoral work resulted in a publication in the journal Science.

Dr. Fred Gould, co-director of the Center, is a University Distinguished Professor of Entomology who has done cutting-edge research in the area of ecology and evolutionary biology. An elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, Gould studies the ecology and genetics of insect pests to improve food production and human and environmental health.

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He serves on the National Academy of Sciences committee on “Public Interfaces of the Life Sciences.” He also serves on the National Research Council Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources. One of his research projects involves genetically modified mosquitoes that have reduced capacity to carry and spread dengue fever. He has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, among others, for his work.Gould participated in policy development for transgenic crops at the national and international level. He sees a need to develop more inclusive and transparent approaches for building, assessing and regulating transgenic pests. Gould has authored or co-authored more than 160 refereed publications. He has been invited to present papers at numerous conferences, symposia and seminars.

In 2007, he won the George Bugliarello Prize from Sigma Xi for his article on genetic manipulation of pests for control of human disease vectors. In 2004, Gould received the Alexander von Humboldt Award, which is presented annually to the person judged to have made the most significant contribution to American agriculture during the previous five years.

In 2011, Gould received NC State’s Holladay Medal, the university’s highest award for faculty achievement. Gould has served on National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council committees to study the environmental effects of the commercialization of genetically modified plants and develop recommendations on genetically modified pest-protected crops. He has also served on Environmental Protection Agency panels on genetically modified crops. Gould is a member of the Entomological Society of America, the Society for the Study of Evolution and Sigma Xi.

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Ignacio Chapela

Professor, University of California, Berkeley

Interview date: 2/23/2015
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About: Ignacio Chapela is a microbial ecologist and mycologist at the University of California, Berkeley. He is best known for a 2001 paper in Nature on the flow of transgenes into wild maize populations and as an outspoken critic of the University of California’s ties to the biotechnology industry. Chapela is also notable for his work with natural resources and indigenous rights.

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Mary-Dell Chilton

Scientist, Inventor, Syngenta Biotechnology

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Interview date: 2/17/2016

About: Mary-Dell Chilton, a Distinguished Science Fellow at Syngenta began her corporate career in 1983 with CIBA-Geigy Corporation (a legacy company of Syngenta). Her tenure has spanned both research and administrative roles, including Vice President, Agricultural Biotechnology. Her current research is directed to improving the technology for introducing new genes into plants. Dr. Chilton is author of more than 100 scientific publications.

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In honor of her many achievements, in 2002 Syngenta announced creation of the Mary-Dell Chilton Center – a new administrative and conference center which was added to the SBI facility in Research Triangle Park. While on faculty at Washington University in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Dr. Chilton led a collaborative research study that produced the first transgenic plants. This groundbreaking research, which was the basis for the many significant contributions plant biotechnology has made to agriculture today, earned Mary-Dell Chilton the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Sciences for 2002.

While on faculty at Washington University in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Dr. Chilton led a collaborative research study that produced the first transgenic plants. This groundbreaking research, which was the basis for the many significant contributions plant biotechnology has made to agriculture today, earned Mary-Dell Chilton the Benjamin Franklin Medal in Life Sciences for 2002.

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Greg Jaffe

Biotechnology Director, Center for Science in the Public Interest

Interview date: 10/5/2015
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About: Gregory Jaffe is the Director of the Project on Biotechnology for CSPI. Jaffe came to CSPI after serving as a Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division and as Senior Counsel with the U.S. EPA, Air Enforcement Division. He is a recognized international expert on agricultural biotechnology and biosafety, and has published numerous articles and reports on those topics.

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He has worked on biosafety regulatory issues in the U.S. and throughout the world. He was a member of the Secretary of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture from 2003-2008 and was reappointed to a new term in 2011. He was also a member of FDA’s Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee from 2004-2008. In addition, he has provided his biosafety expertise for projects involving the International Food Policy Research Institute, the World Bank, and the UNEP-GEF Biosafety Project. Jaffe earned his BA with High Honors from Wesleyan University in Biology and Government and then received a law degree from Harvard Law School.

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Scott Johnson

Vice President, Agricultural Biotechnology, NC Biotechnology Center

Interview date: 8/30/2016
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About: Mr. Johnson leads NCBiotech’s initiatives focused on agriculture, which have created an internationally recognized portal for high-tech agricultural R&D and commerce in North Carolina. Before joining NCBiotech in November 2014, he spent six years as president of Sustainable Oils, a privately held biofuel and biochemical feedstock provider developing novel crops and solutions for the renewable replacement of petroleum products. Under his leadership, the company delivered more than one million gallons of camelina-based jet fuel to the U.S. military in a strategic effort to source alternative fuel sources.

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Since 2006 and concurrent to his role with Sustainable Oils, he founded and operated Augment Services LLC, an agricultural management and marketing consultancy. Mr. Johnson’s career has kept him at the forefront of agricultural innovation. He worked for more than two decades with global research-based agriculture companies in various executive roles including business development, marketing and general management. He was also a principal in forming a wholesale/retail food business in California as well as joining his brothers as a partner in the family farm – the fifth generation of family operators.

A recipient of the Montana Prospera Business Network “Entrepreneur of the Year 2010” award and numerous corporate recognitions, he received his MBA at California State University, Stanislaus and his bachelor’s degree in entomology at the University of California, Davis.

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Pam Marrone

CEO & Founder, Marrone Bio Innovations

Interview date: 10/26/2015
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About: Dr. Pamela Marrone, CEO and founder of Marrone Bio Innovations (MBI), started the company in 2006 to discover and develop effective and environmentally responsible, biologically-based products for pest management and plant health. Prior to establishing MBI, Dr. Marrone founded AgraQuest (1995-2006) where she served as its CEO, Chairman and President. Before AgraQuest, she was founding president of Entotech, Inc. (1990-1995), a biopesticide subsidiary of Novo Nordisk. Pam started her career in biopesticides by leading the Insect Biology group at Monsanto (1983-1990), which was involved in pioneering projects based on natural products and plant biotechnology.

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Pam was elected by her fellow Cornell alumni to Cornell University’s Board of Trustees. Pam also serves on the UC Davis College of Ag and Environmental Sciences Dean’s Advisory Council. She is the Treasurer of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS).

Dr. Marrone has a B.S. in entomology with Honors and Distinction from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in entomology from North Carolina State University. She is a Fellow of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science).

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Terry Medley

Vice President for Biotechnology Regulatory and External Affairs (Retired), DuPont Company

Interview date: 9/20/2016
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About: Terry Medley joined DuPont in 1998, as director of regulatory and external affairs. Before joining DuPont, Mr. Medley was administrator of USDA’s  Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. As administrator, Medley led a staff of 6,000 charged with protecting the health of U.S. plant and animal resources. He is recognized internationally for his expertise and has received numerous awards for public service.

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Medley has served as chairman and vice chairman of the USDA Biotechnology Council; as a member of the Federal Biotechnology Research Subcommittee; and as a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Advisory Committee that reviewed the first genetically engineered crop. In 1989, Medley received the Department of Agriculture’s Superior Service Award for his major role in the development and implementation of biotechnology regulatory policy. In addition, he was conferred the rank of Distinguished Executive in the Senior Executive Service by President Clinton in April 1997.

Medley graduated cum laude from Amherst College and received a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of Virginia.

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Margaret Mellon

Senior Scientist, Policy Expert, Union of Concerned Scientists

Interview date: 9/5/2014
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About: Margaret Mellon is one of the nation’s most respected experts on biotechnology and food safety. Mellon holds a doctorate in molecular biology and a law degree from the University of Virginia. She was formerly a research fellow in molecular virology at Purdue University and Program Director for the Environmental Law Institute.

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Mellon has published widely on the potential environmental impacts of biotechnology applications. She is co-author of Ecological Risks of Engineered Crops and Hogging It!: Estimates of Antimicrobial Abuse in Livestock and co-editor of Now or Never: Serious New Plans to Save a Natural Pest Control. She serves on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture and teaches a course in biotechnology and the law at the Vermont Law School. In 1993 she received a Distinguished Alumni Award from Purdue University’s School of Science.

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Pamela Ronald and Raoul Adamchak

Professor, University of California Davis; Market Garden Coordinator, UC Davis Student Garden

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Interview date: 8/20/2014

About: Pamela C. Ronald is a plant pathologist and geneticist. She is a professor in the Genome Center and the Department of Plant Pathology, and founding faculty director of the Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy, all at the UC Davis. She also serves as Director of Grass Genetics at the Joint BioEnergy Institute in Emeryville, CA.

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Her laboratory has genetically engineered rice for resistance to diseases and tolerance to flooding, which are serious problems of rice crops in Asia and Africa. Ronald’s research has been published in Science, Nature and other leading peer-reviewed scientific journals, and has also been featured in major media outlets such as The New York Times and NPR.

Raoul Adamchak manages the 7-acre, certified organic, Market Garden at the UC Davis Student Farm. His two main responsibilities are crop production and the development and implementation of experiential learning opportunities for lead student farmers, interns, PLS 49 students, volunteers, and apprentices. Raoul has been growing vegetables organically for over 25 years and has a M.S. in International Agricultural Development from UC Davis.

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John Ryals

President & CEO, Metabolon

Interview date: 9/9/2015
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About: Dr. Ryals has served as President, CEO and a member of the board of directors at Metabolon since April 2002. Prior to founding Metabolon, he was Chief Executive Officer, President and founder of Paradigm Genetics, Inc., a publicly traded agricultural biotechnology company focused on industrializing the process of gene function discovery.

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Dr. Ryals has 30 years of experience in the biotechnology industry, including senior research positions at Novartis and Ciba-Geigy. He currently serves on the board of directors at AgBiome, a provider of early-stage R&D for agriculture, and the advisory board of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University. He earned a BA in biology and chemistry from the University of North Texas and MS and PhD degrees in molecular biology from the University of Texas at Dallas.

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Scott Shore

Consultant, Shore Biotechnology Consulting; Adjunct Professor, NC State University

Interview date: 2/21/2017
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About: Scott Shore has twenty years US and international experience in government and industrial regulatory affairs with emphasis on biotechnology products and policy. He currently works as an independent regulatory consultant as part of the Biosafety Resource Network supporting the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded projects for the development of nutritionally improved crops. He also is working with commercial and government clients on other agricultural and industrial biotechnology regulatory projects.

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Previously, Scott has designed, developed, administered, and implemented strategies, plans, and procedures for regulatory compliance and approval of genetically modified crop plants and enzyme products for Syngenta, Vector Tobacco, and Novozymes. Scott was the Biotechnologist for the NC Department of Agriculture and was responsible for the development and administration of the regulations to implement the NC Genetically Engineered Organisms Act. Scott received his B.S. in cell biology from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, his Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and was a USDA-ARS postdoctoral research plant pathologist at Purdue University. He taught microbiology, molecular genetics, biotechnology, and cell biology at NC State University and continues as an Adjunct Associate Professor with the Microbiology Department.

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Glenn Stone

Professor, Washington University, St. Louis

Interview date:: 1/24/2017

Interview date: 1/24/2017
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About: Glenn Davis Stone is an environmental anthropologist whose research focuses on ecological, political, and cultural aspects of agriculture; on crop biotechnology; and on science studies and food studies. He is a Guggenheim Fellow for 2016-17.

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David Zilberman

Professor, University of California, Berkeley

Interview date: 4/10/2017
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About: Professor (Robinson Chair) in the Dept of Agricultural and Resource Economics at U.C. Berkeley. David’s areas of expertise include agricultural and environmental policy, the economics of innovation, risk and marketing, and water, pest control; biotechnology and climate change.

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Dr. Zilberman is a Fellow of the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) and the Association of Environmental and Resource economics (AERE) and am the recipient of the 2000 Cannes Water and the Economy Award. He won the AAEA 2002 and 2007 Quality of Research Discovery Award and the 2005 and 2009 AAEA Publication of Enduring quality award.

Davis has edited 17 books and coauthored over 300 papers in refereed journals. He received a B.A. in Economics & Statistics at Tel Aviv University, Israel, and Ph.D. at the UC, Berkeley, in 1979. David has served as a consultant to the World Bank, FAO, USDA, EPA, and CDFA.

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Project Personnel

About the Archive

Our Goals

  1. To encourage public access to the history of genetic engineering’s ideas, practice and impact by posting longer-form video interviews on a website.
  2. To create and preserve an archive of high-quality oral histories with key figures in the field, to be archived in North Carolina State University’s Special Collections.

Our Partners

The NC State Libraries Special Collections is a key partner. They will archive physical materials and have experience recording, editing and storing audio video interviews. They have a proven track record of gathering and storing historical materials for public access, including two models for our project: The Computer Simulation collection (video archive) the Lewis Clarke collection (oral history and documents archive). To expand the archive, we are actively seeking partners with an interest in our publicly-accessible archive of voices from the communities who shaped genetic engineering in agriculture.


Public Tools


PAST: Fall 2015 History Project Series Speakers

History poster

Eric Sachs: Monsanto (9/1/15) Download PDF

Greg Jaffe: Center for Science in the Public Interest. (10/5/15) Download PDF

Paul Thompson: Michigan State University (10/14/15) Download PDF

Pam Marrone: Marrone Bio Innovations (10/27/15) Download PDF

John Ryals: Metabolon (11/17/15) Download PDF