How BTI Celebrates Earth Day

by | Apr 22, 2016

earth_day_700x400Scientists at Boyce Thompson Institute want their research to have a real impact in creating a cleaner, greener and healthier world. Our mission clearly states that we are to “protect the environment,” as well as improve agriculture and enhance human health.

Here are a few projects at BTI where scientists are using basic life sciences research to help threatened species and create more sustainable agriculture and transportation systems for a healthier earth.



AgrimonyIn Joyce Van Eck’s lab, Patricia Keen developed a way to propagate woodland agrimony, a threatened plant in New York state, using tissue culture.


SpeckThe discovery of a gene region that makes tomato plants resistant to certain types of bacteria that cause bacterial speck disease by the Martin lab may reduce the need for copper-based pesticides, which is the current treatment for speck-infected fields.


SorghumThe Harrison lab is working to optimize the symbiotic interaction between sorghum and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to enhance sorghum growth for more efficient biofuel production.


CuckesZhangjun Fei’s group is using bioinformatics to accelerate the breeding of disease-resistant cucumbers, squash and melons. These improved crops may require fewer pesticide applications and will be more productive, thus taking less land to yield more produce.


TeachersThe Education and Outreach group is bringing together scientists and teachers to inspire the next generation of scientists and expose them to current research in biofuelssustainable agriculture, and insect control using viruses instead of pesticides.


OrangeThe Cilia lab is investigating several aspects of citrus greening disease, a bacterial infection that is devastating orange groves worldwide. Using a proteomics approach, they are developing methods for early detection and working to identify key protein interactions that occur during bacterial transmission with the hope of creating therapeutic compounds to block the infection.

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