The Science of Modern Agriculture: GMOs - a Discussion in the Media, the Classroom, and at the Dinner Table
Dr. Akbar is a native of Pakistan. His dream to receive world class education brought him to Kansas State University in 2001 where he received MS in entomology. Later, he joined Louisiana State University Sugarcane Entomology Program where his research focused on developing various insect management strategies for sugarcane growers. After completing his PhD, he joined Monsanto in 2010 and has been involved in early phase development of transgenic traits for managing corn and cotton insect pests.
Valerie Bayes holds a degree in Biological Sciences from University of Missouri-Columbia and a Master's Degree from Lindenwood University in Teaching with certification in secondary biology. She serves as Monsanto’s STEM Engagement Lead in Saint Louis, Missouri. Growing up Valerie often found her curiosity getting her into trouble. From building treehouses out of recycled materials to jumping off the roof with an umbrella – asking “why” and “how” she has always been the curious type asking about phenomena and testing hypothesis. She is a strong advocated for the scientific method. Her work is focuses on creating authentic agricultural experiences demonstrating the sophistication and integral nature of STEM through agriculture.
Dr. Gowda grew up on a farm in southern India where he worked in various crop fields while attending school. This is where he developed his interest in agriculture. He was particularly fascinated by insects such as silkworms through sericulture. This led him to pursue his career in agriculture and he went on to receive B.S. in Agriculture and M.S. in Entomology from University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, India. His passion for science brought him to Auburn University, AL where he completed his PhD in Entomology in 2008. Since then, he has been working with Monsanto supporting/leading various projects. His significant contributions as a project lead resulted in phase advancements of two cotton projects namely Bollgard III and Lygus. Currently he leads a team of scientists discovering new insecticidal proteins and evaluating their efficacy in transgenic plants for developing next generation of insect control products in various crops.
Eric Van Fleet
Eric Van Fleet grew up in Pennsylvania before receiving his B.S. in Biochemistry at Ithaca College in 2009 and his M.S. in Entomology at Cornell University in 2012. His research was focused on the biology of aphids, and he participated in the International Aphid Genome Consortium. After graduating in 2012, he joined Monsanto as a research entomologist studying methods to control stink bugs.
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