Advancing Translation

Our team is exploring seven opportunities to improve photosynthesis. Each photosynthetic modification is tested in a single genotype of a model crop, tobacco. Tobacco was chosen as the initial test crop solely because it is relatively easy to engineer and work within the laboratory, greenhouse, and field—allowing us to apply the engineering principles of design, test, build until we achieve success. Photosynthesis is highly conserved across plants, meaning any breakthroughs identified in tobacco should be transferrable to important food crops. 

Transformations are confirmed, from gene expression to production of the targeted proteins, and then tested in laboratory, greenhouse, and field experiments to ensure each trait's efficacy. Once our team identifies an opportunity to improve photosynthesis and boost crop productivity, we begin the process of translating these successes into staple food crops such as cassava, cowpea, maize, soybean, and rice -- and the process begins again.

Every trait will also undergo a rigorous regulatory approval process to ensure these crops are safe for the environment and consumption. We are committed to providing global access to the farmers and communities who need these technologies most.

Jose Barrero_headshot
Carl Bernacchi
Lea Claflin_Headshot
David Drag
Brett Feddersen_headshot
Jeffrey Hansen
TJ Higgins
Jiating Li
Steve Long
Iyke Nnaji
Mike Root_Headshot
Matthew Siebers
Yishu Zhang
Picture of ground breaking

New greenhouse coming to U of I's Research Park

A new state-of-the-art greenhouse is coming to the University of Illinois' Research Park.

By: Haydee Clotter || Illinois Fox News

Greenhouse mock-up

Research Park to welcome new greenhouse

Representatives from Illinois and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will break ground on a new, state-of-the-art greenhouse.

By: WCIA News

Cowpea seeds

As Nigeria makes final move to commercialise Bt cowpea

After nine years of intensive trials of the Bacillus thuringiences (Bt) cowpea, Nigeria finally begins the final processes towards commercialisation.

By: Leadership, a Nigerian newspaper

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RIPE researchers prove bioengineering better photosynthesis increases yields in food crops for the first time ever

For the first time, RIPE researchers have proven that multigene bioengineering of photosynthesis increases the yield of a major food crop in field trials.

Urban vegetation

Stronger drought resistance of urban vegetation due to higher temperature, CO2 and reduced O3

Using data collected from urban environments, researchers at Illinois have been able to study dueling effects of climate change factors on vegetation response to drought.

Peng Fu Drought Imprints_thumbnail

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger: Illinois research shows crops have drought ‘memory’ to help reduce yield loss

Illinois researchers find that crops that experience drought conditions or extreme temperatures during their early stages of growth and survive are better able to deal with those same conditions later in their growth cycle.