Tomorrow’s scientists developing CRISPR-edited crops to boost sustainable farming

Today’s graduate students understand the importance of effectively communicating science to the public. Consumer outreach can help resolve the ideological controversy surrounding crop biotechnology, for example, but distilling years of complex research into a message that busy people find compelling is harder than it seems. Oddly, there are few universities that teach their students the mechanics and psychology of public engagement.

The Cornell Alliance for Science, a nonprofit dedicated to spreading science literacy, aims to fill this gap with its science communication workshop. The program offers graduate students the tools they need to teach consumers how biotechnology can help tackle food insecurity, agricultural sustainability and climate change.

On this episode of Talking Biotech, plant scientists Kevin Folta and Paul Vincelli interview three of the workshop’s participants–Andrew Katz (Colorado State), Bliss Betzen (Kansas State) and Saarah Kuzay (UC Davis)–about their efforts to develop disease-resistant crops that can help make farming more sustainable.

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Follow Bliss Betzen on Twitter @bmbetzen, connect with Andrew Katz on LinkedIn and learn more about Saarah Kuzay’s work at the UC-Davis, Dubcovsky Lab.

Kevin M. Folta is a professor in the Horticultural Sciences Department at the University of Florida. Follow professor Folta on Twitter @kevinfolta and email your questions to [email protected]. Paul Vincelli is a professor of plant pathology at the University of Kentucky. Follow him on Twitter @Pvincell

The Talking Biotech podcast, produced by Kevin Folta, is available for listening or subscription:

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