Pizza, Cookies and Science
At AgBiome we continue the grand tradition of participating in science seminars. It takes us back to our student days when we could stretch our grocery budget farther if we attended seminars with free pizza and cookies. There was always that added benefit of learning about cutting edge research, expanding our professional networks, and getting extra credit in our classes.
Why a seminar series?
For several years, AgBiome has hosted a steady stream of scientific innovators from around the world at our campus in beautiful North Carolina. These scientists work in industry, academia or government agencies across the globe, with expertise in such diverse fields of study as metaproteomics, microbial taxonomy, maize breeding, pest management, agronomy and a host of others.
The speaker gets the opportunity to interact with our scientists and tour AgBiome’s labs. It’s a pretty fun visit as long as they aren’t allergic to dogs.
As AgBiomers, these are great opportunities for us too. We increase our exposure to cutting edge research and it allows us to constantly re-evaluate how we test hypotheses given new trends and technologies. We often learn about new ways to think about problems and areas where our technology could make a big impact. Not all of our speakers work in biotechnology—we’ve also hosted social scientists who have taught us about bias and how to create a more equitable workplace. Beyond learning something new, seminars provide regular opportunities to expand our network, as a company and as individuals. Numerous collaborations have resulted from speaker visits to AgBiome.
These seminar visits are also an opportunity to promote ideas we believe in, such as feeding the world safely, partnering with microbes for human benefit, and creating a company culture built on trust and transparency. We hope that our way of working, and the problems we are trying to solve, inspire new research directions and cultural improvements in the people we work with.
Last year we hosted 22 seminar speakers, and 2019 is projected to be equally busy. Our most recent speaker was Manuel Kleiner from North Carolina State University (we’re lucky to have excellent research institutions in the neighborhood), who spoke about metaproteomics—the study of proteins from communities of organisms.
We also enjoyed talks from such industry veterans as Haven Baker (who recently co-founded Pairwise Genomics) and Jim Tiedje (Director of Michigan State University Center for Microbial Ecology). Toffazal Islam (Head of Biotechnology at BSMRAU in Bangladesh) taught us about the spread of wheat blast in Asia, and how epidemics can be traced more quickly by open data sharing in the scientific community. One of our seminar speakers from last year enjoyed his visit so much that he came back this year...to accept a full-time position!
Pictured: Dr. Manuel Kleiner, N.C. State University
Thanks to all the wonderful speakers who have taken the time to visit AgBiome, teach us new things, and expand our network of friends.