Rob Riedel from Wild Ozark Ginseng Farm introduces their products at the Agroforestry Symposium on Jan. 26, 2017  | photo by Jinghong Chen, Bond LSC

By Mariah Cox | Bond LSC

Farmers, scientists and tree experts, from field to forest, will bring their work inside this Wednesday and Thursday to hear how research can improve all of their livelihoods.

The 10th annual University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry Symposium is set to take place Jan. 30-31 at the Bond Life Sciences Center on the University of Missouri’s campus.

The two-day event will focus on innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of agroforestry and will feature keynote speakers Rodolphe Barrangou and Kelly Sexton.

“The annual Agroforestry Symposium is an opportunity to bring together leading researchers and practitioners to explore in-depth and showcase a compelling agroforestry-related theme,” said Gregory Ormsby Mori, Center for Agroforestry outreach coordinator.

The Symposium kicks off Wednesday evening with an introduction from Mark McIntosh, vice president for research and economic development for the UM System and vice chancellor for research at MU. The introduction will be followed up by the keynote speaker Rodolphe Barrangou, who will give a presentation titled “The CRISPR Craze: Entrepreneurial Lessons from a Disruptive Technology.”

Barrangou, an associate professor of food science at North Carolina State University, specializes in researching the biology and genetics of CRISPR-Cas immune systems in bacteria which defend against viruses. Barrangou focuses on using CRISPR technologies in his lab to vaccinate the bacteria used to produce cultured dairy products in an effort to prevent viruses that could destroy starter cultures.

The following day will begin with an introduction from Michael Gold, interim director for the Center for Agroforestry, and Christopher Daubert, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, will introduce keynote speaker Kelly Sexton.

Sexton, an associate vice president for research—technology transfer and innovation partnerships at the University of Michigan, will talk about “The Transformative Power of Research and Technology Commercialization.” She promotes innovation and intellectual property development programs at her university as well as engagement with businesses and government organizations locally and globally.

Five presenters will follow the keynote speakers and will cover an array of topics pertaining to entrepreneurship in the fields of agriculture and natural resources. The second day of the Symposium will also have two panel discussions titled “Fostering Translation of Research and Entrepreneurship at MU” and “Building Economic Impact from University Research through Effective Industry Partnerships.”

The Symposium is free and open to the public, but all guests are requested to register in advance. There will be light refreshments and lunch on the second day. The Symposium will wrap up with a closing reception, poster session and demonstrations in McQuinn Atrium.

For more information about the speakers, topics and times, visit the Center for Agroforestry website.