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Donald Danforth Plant Science Center Launches New Research Institute

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, located in St. Louis, Missouri, is launching a new research institute focused on the restoration of natural and agricultural lands.

“The New Roots for Restoration Biology Integration Institute offers an incredible opportunity to revolutionize the way in which we approach restoration of human-impacted landscapes by focusing on both natural and agricultural ecosystems in tandem, and by applying cutting-edge technologies used primarily in annual grain crops to wild plant species and perennial crop candidate species,” said Allison Miller, Director of the New Roots for Restoration Biology Integration Institute.

The New Roots for Restoration Biology Integration Institute will employ technology to study how plant traits, soil and the broader environment impact crops, and how plants impact and can advance restoration. That will include using the Danforth Center’s phenotyping and computational technology and capabilities to quantify plant traits.

In addition to its focus on restoration, a major component of the new institute is to provide educational and internship opportunities in the STEM sector to students who are from underrepresented communities.

“We are equally as excited about the opportunities for recruitment, training, retention, and placement of the next generation of scientists, with a focus on persons excluded because of ethnicity or race (PEER) who will build their careers working across disciplines to restore wild landscapes and restructure agricultural systems for long-term sustainability,” said Miller.

A $12.5 million grant awarded by the National Science Foundation established the New Roots for Restoration Biology Integration Institute, and the five-year project that will include 26 scientists from nine collaborating institutions.

The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is located in Missouri’s new agtech innovation community, 39 North. The district covers nearly 600 acres in Missouri and includes many of the region’s top agtech companies as well as Bio-Research & Development Growth (BRDG) Park and the Helix Center Biotech Incubator.

Missouri’s agriculture industry is an $88 billion industry every year and encompasses more than 378,000 jobs. In fact, Missouri is known as THE global leader in agtech.

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