The Society for In Vitro Biology established the Fellow Award to recognize outstanding professionals who have made significant contributions to the field of in vitro biology and demonstrated service to the Society.  The Society for In Vitro Biology honored Mr. Michael Dame, Dr. Lucy Lee and Dr. William Gordon-Kamm with Fellow Awards at the 2020 World Congress on In Vitro Biology.  This issue of the In Vitro Report includes the Fellow Award article for Dr. William Gordon-Kamm. Mr. Michael Dame’s Fellow Award article was included in the last issue of the In Vitro Report. Dr. Lucy Lee’s Fellow Award article will be included in an upcoming issue of the In Vitro Report 

Dr. William Gordon-Kamm

2020 SIVB Fellow Award Recipient

William Gordon-Kamm Receives the 2020 SIVB Fellow Award

Dr William Gordon-Kimm received his BS (1978) and MS from Western Washington University (1980). From there, he moved to Cornell University, Ithaca, and obtained his PhD in the year 1984. Bill took up a Post-Doc position in USDA/ARS, Cereal Rust Laboratory, Univ of Minnesota bettween1984 and 1985. He then continued to teach as an Asst Professor, New Mexico Highlands Univ, between 1985 and 1987. After that, he took an industrial Research Scientist at the erstwhile DeKalb/Pfizer Genetics and worked there from 1987 to 1993.

He continued with the industry since 1993 as Research Scientist with DuPont/Pioneer and currently as Distinguished Fellow with the newly spun-off company Corteva (1993 – present). He worked closely with several cross-functional teams internally and collaborated with numerous excellent institutions externally. He was able to bring-in groups together with his comprehensive understanding of plant sciences and experience to advance plant science and was very visible with some of the early seminal work through publications from 1983. One of the significant research contributions was the publication of his first work on the Transformation of Maize Cells and Regeneration of Fertile Transgenic Plants in Plant Cell (1990).

He mostly has committed his time to improve maize by inventing or using tools and processes over the years and most recently with cereal improvement using “Dev genes,” and extending methods to several dicotyledons species internally in the company and partnering with several public institutes. He is also currently working on projects with global industry and privately funded projects to improve cereals with the Bill-Gates foundation.

Here are some significant impacts of his research in developing enabling technologies and provided a sphere of influence internally and externally to advance science.

  1. Transformation of Maize and improvement through biotechnology, which resulted in a product line in the market, “Qrome.”
  2. Advancement of science by providing disruptive enabling technologies like the introduction of the dev gene concept, which is a game-changer to manipulate crop species directly.
  3. Currently, several private, public and philanthropic institutes (Bill and Melinda Gates, Danforth Center) are actively using these assets for improving crop species globally.

Bill has been active in the Society and externally in peer-reviewing journal papers; book chapters; books or edited books; conference proceedings; non-technical articles; several patents; several invited lectures, seminars, symposia. He has convened and moderated sessions, presented in meetings, conducting workshops in the SIVB society in both national and world conferences.

In addition to his scientific contribution, Bill is passionate about mentoring and developing the next generation of scientists. He routinely works with interns, graduate students in the universities, and younger colleagues in the industry to transfer his lifetime of knowledge. He is a firm believer in effective scientific learning, and experience is advanced via sequential learning. During the past several years, many individuals’ scientific careers in industry and academia shaped and changed by interaction with Bill.

Bill continues to be an exceptional scientist, distinguished mentor to junior colleagues/scientists, coach to peers, and he will continue to promote plant cell and in vitro biology within the Society in the years to come.

Submitted by Pon Samuel

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