Applying synthetic biology to study and engineer plants

Seminar from the Center for Research on Programmable Plant Systems (CROPPS)

Featuring Arjun Khakhar, assistant professor of biology at Colorado State UniversityTuesday, October 10 from 2-3 p.m. eastern timeHybrid event in Emerson 135 at Cornell and on ZoomRegister hereAbstract:

There is an urgent need to develop technologies capable of accelerating crop improvement to meet the challenges posed by both the rapid changes to agricultural environments created by climate change as well as the steadily increasing demand for food. The capacity of synthetic biology to make targeted and tunable changes to genotype has the potential to enable rapid and precise interrogation of genotype-phenotype relationships. Synthetic biology tools also provide an avenue to leverage these insights to enhance crops, either through tuning natural phenotypes or generating totally novel ones. In this seminar I will talk about the work my group has done in the past year developing control systems to predictable modify spatiotemporal patterns of gene expression as well as how we aim to use these to improve crops in the coming years.


I am passionate about fighting global hunger and malnutrition. My major hobbies are cooking, making art, and reading. Science fiction is my favorite genre and I love that my job gives me the opportunity to bring some of the things I have read about closer to reality. I received my PhD from the University of Washington in Bioengineering, went on to do a postdoc at the University of Minnesota, spent two years as a Principal scientist at an Ag-Biotech startup, and am now an assistant professor in the biology department at Colorado State University. My group focuses on using synthetic biology to study and engineer living systems, including plants, viruses, and fungi, with a focus on how structure affects function across scales.

Become a Fellow

Join the Cornell Institute for Digital Agriculture and become a participating member in advancing research, thought, policy and practice to advance the field of digital agriculture and help build stronger, more resilient agri-food systems.

Stay up to Date

Receive our newsletter for announcements of events, opportunities, digital ag news, Cornell news, and more.

CIDA - Cornell Institute for Digital Agriculture

If you have a disability and are having trouble accessing information on this website or need materials in an alternate format, contact [email protected] for assistance.


CIDA Copyright 2023 | CIDA is an equal opportunity employer | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy