NCSB Hosted the National Soybean Biotechnology Symposium

(l-r) Dr. James Orf and Dr. Steven Whitham (l-r) Dr. James Orf and Dr. Steven Whitham

Columbia, Mo--The National Center for Soybean Biotechnology (NCSB) sponsored the 6th Annual Soybean Biotechnology Symposium which was held on Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at the University of Missouri in the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center.

This day-long event offered informational sessions and get-togethers for researchers and students from MU’s Agriculture, Plant Sciences, and other Life Sciences disciplines. This year’s special guest was Senator Christopher S. “Kit” Bond who gave a talk on biotechnology, the soybean industry and the future for Missouri and the US.  Also attending as a special guest was Kelly Gillespie, Executive Director for Missouri Biotechnology Association (MOBIO).  Kelly focused on biotechnology research and development for Missouri.

Two distinguished guest speakers were invited:  Dr. Steven Whitham, Associate Professor from Iowa State University whose presentation was on soybean genetic research and Dr. James Orf, Professor from University of Minnesota whose presentation was on soybean breeding research.  Dr. Orf was the Poehlman Lecturer Recipient. Dr. Steven Whitham’s presentation was on “Applications for virus-induced gene silencing in characterizing soybean defense gene networks.”  Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) is a tool that can be used to study functions of specific plant genes to include those involved with pathogen defense.

Dr. James Orf’s presentation was on “Soybean Improvement for the Northern United States”. “Breeding soybeans for northern U.S. conditions present different challenges for researchers” says Dr. Orf.

The poster session along with the closing reception took place from 4-6pm.  Approximately 25 research posters were presented by students, post-docs, and research scientists.

The goal of the symposium is to promote interdisciplinary interactions among the research and academic community by bringing to the NCSB prominent experts from the field of plant genetics and biotechnology.

More information about the National Center for Soybean Biotechnology can be found at