Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
mshipp via Flickr

Several factors are helping St. Louis make a name for itself as a startup city.

“First of all is talent,” Thomas Osha told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Thursday. Osha is managing director of innovation and economic development for Wexford Science + Technology. “Talent trumps everything. That’s why it is the fuel of entrepreneurial activity. Innovation is totally a social enterprise, so the more folks you can bring into that orbit, the more chance you have of being able to scale those entrepreneurial businesses.”

Melanie Bernds, Danforth Plant Science Center

"Precision agriculture" is the trend to watch at this year's Ag Innovation Showcase at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

The Danforth Center’s Chief Operator Officer, Sam Fiorello, said that's a change for the international gathering.

When the Showcase started in 2009, most of the participating start-ups were using genetic engineering to develop crops that could resist pests, drought or other agricultural stresses.

This year, none of the products presented involve GMOs.    

Mikhail Berezin, Washington University

Updated 8/6/14:

The National Science Foundation has awarded $20 million to academic and research institutions across Missouri to study climate change.

Five states, plus the U.S. Virgin Islands, have received one of the NSF’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) grants.

Courtesy Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Out of all possible locations in the United States, German seed company KWS chose St. Louis as the site of its North American headquarters. What made St. Louis stand out from the rest?

According to Donald Danforth Plant Science Center President James Carrington and COO Sam Fiorello, KWS was attracted to the St. Louis region because of its community spirit and because of the world-class research facilities available at the Bio-Research & Development Growth Park (BRDG Park) on the Danforth Center campus.

Courtesy of Cortex

BioSTL is launching a variety of programs to bring more women and minorities into the field of biosciences. 

The group received a $100,000 donation earlier this year from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. Some of that money is being used to expand the St. Louis Bioscience Inclusion Initiative, which started in the late 2000s.

Commentary: The Power Of WE

Jun 17, 2014
Sam Fiorello
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

Years ago when I lived and worked in Washington, D.C., the city was crippled by an intense January snowstorm. My office was a short walk from my apartment so I was able to salvage at least an abridged day of work. While walking home, with snow still falling heavily, I came upon a homeless man named Charlie whom I had seen almost daily in the same spot. When I stopped to ask Charlie if he was OK, he stood transfixed, looking at a few flakes of newly fallen snow on his gloved hand. Charlie smiled at me and said, "Isn't it amazing? Individually these flakes are so fragile.

Courtesy Donald Danforth Plant Science Center

KWS, a German agricultural company, is opening a research center at BRDG Park in the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center’s campus.

The company, which specializes in plant breeding, has 4,800 employees in 70 countries. The new facility will be its first molecular plant research space in North America, hiring 25 positions in the first year and another 75 in following years.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Gov. Jay Nixon once again signaled that he might strike down school transfer legislation that passed out of the General Assembly last week. 

Provided by Ms Lyons

The seeds for the St. Louis biotech boom began as early as 1998 when St. Louis leaders recognized a perfect confluence of key ingredients for growth in plant and life sciences: the geographic location in the nation’s cropland; an abundance of scientific research institutions, including Washington University, St. Louis University and the Columbia and St. Louis campuses of the University of Missouri; and many successful scientific companies such as Monsanto, Sigma-Aldrich, Novus and Covidien.

Provided by the center

Condensed from the State of the Center report to the community.

When we started, I dreamed, perhaps romantically, that our center would be part of a major human adventure of the 21st century. We would try to make the most of the wonderful human desire to know how the world really works, in our case how plants really work. This drive to understand, shaped through its evermore powerful modern offspring, science, can help hold off potential environmental disaster. In doing so, we hoped also to bring benefits and perhaps even a little credit to our home community.

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