#4 – Ross Sozzani – From basic science to engineering tools to translational research


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From basic science to engineering tools to translational research

Dr. Ross Sozzani, Associate Professor and Director of NC PSI Plant Improvement, NC State

Website | Twitter Dr. Ross Sozzani, Director of Plant Improvement at NC PSI, on the multidisciplinary techniques contributing to knowledge and understanding of engineering agronomically enhanced plants for food production.


Global food production is an enormously complex enterprise crossing every conceivable barrier from geographical borders to scientific disciplines. Challenges to production that threaten our ability to feed the world’s growing population are multifactorial and will require the integration of many fields of knowledge and skill sets to discover sustainable solutions. It requires the synthesis of discipline-specific theories, protocols, and tools to create new models and a common language to address complicated research questions. A systems understanding of development and adaptation at the level of cells, tissues, organisms, and ecosystem together with the development of predictive models is needed to achieve translational research. This discussion will be focused on: 1- the use of techniques derived from biological, mathematical, and engineering science to unravel molecular mechanisms that regulate the growth and development of multicellular organisms; and 2- how the fundamental understanding of biological systems and relationships at a multi-scale level is central to translate this knowledge to engineering plants with enhanced agronomic function. Related links:

Speaker Bio

Dr. Ross Sozzani joined NC State in 2013 as a Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program cluster hire in Synthetic and Systems Biology. An associate professor in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, Sozzani researches the molecular mechanisms that regulate stem cell fate specification and maintenance within the Arabidopsis root, and translates this knowledge to engineering plants with enhanced agronomic function using the tools of synthetic biology. Her goal is to gain a coherent qualitative and quantitative understanding of stem cell maintenance at the system level. In addition to revealing the molecular pathways that stem cells employ, this research will help to better understand why stem cells, in both plants and animals, give rise to specialized cells at all.

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