Algal genome provides insights into first land plants

Algal genome provides insights into first land plants

In order to shift from water to land – a transition that still puzzles scientists – plants had to protect themselves from drying out and from ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and they had to develop structures to support themselves without the buoyancy provided by water....
Harnessing Psyllid Peptides to Fight Citrus Greening Disease

Harnessing Psyllid Peptides to Fight Citrus Greening Disease

Citrus greening disease, also called huanglongbing (HLB), is a bacterial infection of citrus trees that results in small, misshapen and sour fruits that are unsuitable for consumption, ultimately killing the tree. Because there is no cure, HLB is a major threat to the...
Wallflowers Could Lead to New Drugs

Wallflowers Could Lead to New Drugs

Plant-derived chemicals called cardenolides have long been used to treat heart disease, and have shown potential as cancer therapies. But the compounds are very toxic, making it difficult for doctors to prescribe a dose that works without harming the patient. For...
Hornwort Genomes Could Lead to Crop Improvement

Hornwort Genomes Could Lead to Crop Improvement

Some 500 million years ago – when our continents were likely connected in a single land mass and most life existed underwater – hornworts were one of the first groups of plants to colonize land. But biologists have never understood much about the genetics of these...
Speedy Recovery: New Corn Performs Better in Cold

Speedy Recovery: New Corn Performs Better in Cold

Nearly everyone on Earth is familiar with corn. Literally. Around the world, each person eats an average of 70 pounds of the grain each year, with even more grown for animal feed and biofuel. And as the global population continues to boom, increasing the amount of...
Plants Found to Speak Roundworm’s Language

Plants Found to Speak Roundworm’s Language

Nematodes are tiny, ubiquitous roundworms that infect plant roots, causing more than $100 billion in crop damage worldwide each year. New research has found that plants manipulate the worms’ pheromones to repel infestations, providing insights into how farmers could...
Reflections on Mary Clutter

Reflections on Mary Clutter

We at BTI were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Mary Clutter on December 8. Many know Mary from her time at the National Science Foundation, where she began as Program Director in the 1970s, working her way up to become Assistant Director for the...
Aspirin-Like Compounds Could Treat Numerous Human Diseases

Aspirin-Like Compounds Could Treat Numerous Human Diseases

People have used aspirin to treat pain, fever and inflammation for more than a century, and the drug is also used to reduce the risk of strokes, heart attacks and some cancers. An estimated 100 billion aspirin tablets are taken worldwide each year, but how it works is...
Groundcherries: a New Treat

Groundcherries: a New Treat

Groundcherries: a New Treat by Carol Bayles, Master Gardener, with input from Esperanza Shenstone, Boyce Thompson Institute Note: this article originally appeared in the Cornell Cooperative Extension Garden Post newsletter Most gardeners love to try new things and...
BTI Researchers Publish High-Impact Nature Papers

BTI Researchers Publish High-Impact Nature Papers

We would like to congratulate a pair of BTI faculty members who recently published high-impact research papers in the prestigious research journal Nature. Frank Schroeder and colleagues discovered the first clues on how gut health influences brain health. Published on...
Harvesting Genes to Improve Watermelons

Harvesting Genes to Improve Watermelons

When many people think of watermelon, they likely think of Citrullus lanatus, the cultivated watermelon with sweet, juicy red fruit enjoyed around the world as a dessert. Indeed, watermelon is one of the world’s most popular fruits, second only to tomato – which many...
BTI’s Michelle Heck and Joyce Van Eck Guest on Podcasts

BTI’s Michelle Heck and Joyce Van Eck Guest on Podcasts

Boyce Thompson Institute is happy to share that two of our faculty members recently appeared as guests on popular podcasts. The content of these podcasts illustrate the breadth of research being done at the Institute to help increase global food security, improve...
BTI Researchers Unlocking Hornworts’ Secrets

BTI Researchers Unlocking Hornworts’ Secrets

Hornworts are a little-studied, ancient group of plants with some very unique biology, including their methods of securing carbon and nitrogen. Unlocking these secrets may help researchers boost agricultural output and use less synthetic fertilizer, as well as provide...
BTI Celebrates Another Successful Summer Internship Program

BTI Celebrates Another Successful Summer Internship Program

Boyce Thompson Institute celebrated its 19th annual Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP) summer internship program with an award ceremony at the George and Helen Kohut Symposium, which was held at the Institute on August 8. The PGRP focuses on training and inspiring...
Worm Pheromones Protect Major Crops

Worm Pheromones Protect Major Crops

Protecting crops from pests and pathogens without using toxic pesticides has been a longtime goal of farmers. Researchers at Boyce Thompson Institute have found that compounds from an unlikely source – microscopic soil roundworms – could achieve this aim. As described...
Cluster Hire Yields Three New Faculty Members

Cluster Hire Yields Three New Faculty Members

Boyce Thompson Institute is pleased to announce the hiring of three faculty members as part of its new and innovative “cluster hire” approach. Out of 113 applicants, the three people who will join BTI over the next year are: Magdalena (Magda) Julkowska, a postdoctoral...
BTI Welcomes Summer Student Interns

BTI Welcomes Summer Student Interns

On June 3, Boyce Thompson Institute welcomed 35 of the country’s brightest undergraduate students from universities around the country to experience the life of a researcher for 10 weeks. Eight more interns from area high schools will join the Institute for seven...
Congratulations to BTI’s PhD Graduates!

Congratulations to BTI’s PhD Graduates!

We are pleased to announce that seven Boyce Thompson Institute researchers received their PhD degrees during the Cornell University commencement ceremony on May 26. Congratulations to our newest alumni: Mariko Alexander, Heck lab, “Searching for the missing...
BTI’s Olivia Gomez Places 4th in APS Councilors’ Challenge

BTI’s Olivia Gomez Places 4th in APS Councilors’ Challenge

The Boyce Thompson Institute is pleased to announce that Olivia Gomez, a third-year undergraduate researcher in Michelle Heck’s lab, has placed fourth in the American Phytopathological Society’s Councilors’ Challenge. “Thank you to my mentor Michelle and to the...
BTI Scientists Create New Genomic Resource for Improving Tomatoes

BTI Scientists Create New Genomic Resource for Improving Tomatoes

Tomato breeders have traditionally emphasized traits that improve production, like larger fruits and more fruits per plant. As a result, some traits that improved other important qualities, such as flavor and disease resistance, were lost. Researchers from Boyce...
BTI’s Maria Harrison Elected to National Academy of Sciences

BTI’s Maria Harrison Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Maria Harrison, William H. Crocker Professor at Boyce Thompson Institute and Adjunct Professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS) at Cornell University, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Harrison is one of 100 new members announced...
BTI Alumni Share Advice with PhD Students, Post Docs

BTI Alumni Share Advice with PhD Students, Post Docs

Graduate students and post docs would be wise to join groups that teach leadership and networking skills, which could help them compete for jobs outside of academia. So say three alumni who recently visited Boyce Thompson Institute for an all-day event organized by...
BTI’s Big Red Anniversary: 40 Years at Cornell

BTI’s Big Red Anniversary: 40 Years at Cornell

The Boyce Thompson Institute of Corvallis, Oregon? It almost happened. April 24 will mark the 40th anniversary of the dedication ceremony for BTI’s current facilities on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, NY. The Institute’s researchers and staff will celebrate...
Inaugural BTI Alumni Recognition Awards

Inaugural BTI Alumni Recognition Awards

It is with great enthusiasm and pride that Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) will recognize the first recipients of BTI’s Alumni Recognition Awards during the 2019 PGS Career Symposium on April 26, 2019. Several highly qualified individuals were nominated for the...
BTI Promotes Faculty Member Fei

BTI Promotes Faculty Member Fei

David Stern, president of the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI), is delighted to announce that faculty member Zhangjun Fei has been promoted to Full Professor on February 27, 2019. Fei was evaluated on his achievements to date and the potential he possesses. Fei has made...
Ascribe Bioscience Receives SBIR Award from NSF

Ascribe Bioscience Receives SBIR Award from NSF

On January 29, 2019, Ascribe Bioscience became the first company based on technology developed at the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) to receive a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant. The agbiotech startup will use the $225,000 Phase I award from the...
Cassava experts gather to champion ‘orphan crop’

Cassava experts gather to champion ‘orphan crop’

It’s a dietary staple for millions of Africans, but cassava has traditionally received little attention from scientists and plant breeders in comparison to cash crops such as wheat and maize. However, researchers have recently been working to find cassava a scientific...
Plant–Fungal Interface Gets Tubular

Plant–Fungal Interface Gets Tubular

For hundreds of millions of years, plants and fungi have formed symbiotic relationships to trade crucial nutrients, such as phosphate and fatty acids. This relationship is extremely important to the growth and survival of both organisms, and solving the mystery of how...
New CRISPR database to catalyze collaborations

New CRISPR database to catalyze collaborations

Recently developed gene editing tools like CRISPR/Cas enable scientists to figure out the functions of myriad plant genes. While these studies could eventually lead to the creation of crops with improved traits like increased disease resistance or higher yield,...
Empowering Youth Through Science: Charlie Trautmann Joins BTI Board

Empowering Youth Through Science: Charlie Trautmann Joins BTI Board

BTI is excited to welcome Charlie Trautmann as the newest addition to our Board of Directors. Trautmann brings a wealth of leadership and organizational development experience on non-profit boards, as well as a passion for educating children about science. Although he...
A message from the president regarding the government shutdown

A message from the president regarding the government shutdown

Dear BTI Community:   As we collectively navigate the longest government shutdown in United States history, I know that many of you have questions and concerns about the impact on BTI, our United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) colleagues, and the broader...
CRISPR tames the wild groundcherry

CRISPR tames the wild groundcherry

ITHACA, NY – You might not have heard of the groundcherry, or at least, never tasted one. But that could soon change thanks to research from the Van Eck Laboratory at Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI). The groundcherry (Physalis pruinosa) is approximately the same size...
2018 PGRP Symposium marks finale of intern researchers’ summer

2018 PGRP Symposium marks finale of intern researchers’ summer

The Boyce Thompson Institute’s (BTI’s) 2018 class of summer interns wrapped up their summer by presenting research talks and posters at the annual Plant Genome Research Program (PGRP) Student Symposium. Now in its 17th year, BTI’s annual PGRP symposium provides a...
Plant scientists call for renewed focus on empowerment of trainees

Plant scientists call for renewed focus on empowerment of trainees

Changes in the workforce are challenging academia to prepare scientists to be adaptable and adept at communicating across boundaries. To meet these demands, the Plant Science Research Network (PSRN) is shifting the focus to enable trainees to take ownership of their...
NSF awards BTI $1M to study plant-bacteria symbiosis

NSF awards BTI $1M to study plant-bacteria symbiosis

Professor Dr. Fay-Wei Li has been awarded a $1.1 million NSF grant to study hornwort/bacteria symbiosis. The hornwort plant relies on nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria to give it life and unlocking the secrets to how that works may help reduce agricultural dependence on...
BTI promotes faculty members Schroeder and Van Eck

BTI promotes faculty members Schroeder and Van Eck

Boyce Thompson Institute president, David Stern, has officially announced promotions for faculty members Frank Schroeder and Joyce Van Eck. Both researchers were thoroughly reviewed and evaluated on both their achievements to date and the potential they possess.