Dr. Leach is a plant pathologist who studies the molecular basis of plant disease susceptibility and resistance and how these responses are influenced by interactions within the phytobiome. She currently serves as the Research Associate Dean at the College of Agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University. Dr. Leach is the current President of the International Society of Plant Pathology and is a Fellow and a past President of the American Phytopathological Society (APS). She served on the APS Public Policy Board for 16 years, leading advocacy efforts such as the Phytobiomes Initiative, a systems-level approach to improving crop productivity. Dr. Leach is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology. She is a member of the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources of the US National Academy of Sciences. In May 2019, Leach was awarded the Agropolis Fondation Louis Malassis International Scientific Prize for Agriculture and Food for Distinguished Scientist, and in August 2020, she was presented the APS Award of Distinction, an award that has been given only 17 times in the 112 years of APS’s history. Leach was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences in 2021.
Dr. Leach received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and BS and MS degrees from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, with additional postdoctoral studies completed at East Malling Research, Kent, UK.
Dr. Ecker is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a Professor and the International Council Chair in Genetics and Director of the Genomic Analysis Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. His research focuses on genomic and epigenomic regulation in mammals and plants and on the application of DNA sequencing technologies for genome-wide analysis of DNA methylation, transcription and gene function. He has served as a member of the Council of Advisors to the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health, and the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute among others. Dr. Ecker is a member of the US National Academies of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. His work has been recognized with many awards including, the John J. Carty award for the Advancement of Science from the National Academy, the George W. Beadle Award from the Genetics Society of America, and the Martin Gibbs Medal from the American Society of Plant Biologists.
Dr. Ecker received his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, his BA from the College of New Jersey, and additional postdoctoral work completed at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Dr. Howell is a member and the former chair of the Cibus Scientific Advisory Board, having served in that capacity since the company’s inception. He also currently serves as Professor Emeritus of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology at Iowa State University. Throughout his career, Dr. Howell has advanced the study of stress tolerance in plants, specifically researching the responses of crops to abiotic stresses, such as heat, drought and salt levels. Greater understanding of the biological responses to these stresses is the foundation for improving crop yields throughout the world. Dr. Howell has served at a number of prestigious universities, institutes and agencies, including the University of California, San Diego, Cornell University, the Boyce Thompson Institute and the Division of Molecular and Cellular Bioscience at the National Science Foundation. He has received multiple honors and awards over his career, including Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2016), Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor and Scholar of the Plant Sciences Institute at Iowa State.
Dr. Howell received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University and his BA degree from Grinnell College.
Dr. Meagher is a Distinguished Research Professor, who has spent most of his notable career in the Genetics Department at the University of Georgia. Dr. Meagher has performed pioneering research across diverse disciplines of science and biotechnology, including plant molecular genetics, phytoremediation, monoclonal antibody development, molecular epigenetics, and most recently novel mechanisms of liposomal drug delivery. He has over 200 peer reviewed publications and is the senior inventor on 12 U.S. patents. He has trained dozens of students and postdoctoral fellows and encouraged inventorship among his colleagues. Among several honors and awards, he was elected to the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2005 and the National Academy of Inventors in 2020. Dr. Meagher became a Professor Emeritus in 2018 and still has an active well-funded research laboratory at the University of Georgia.
Dr. Meagher received his B.S. degree in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Illinois and his M. Phil. and Ph.D. degrees from Yale University . He performed postdoctoral research at both the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center.