29-31 May 2018
San Diego, USA

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Pre- Conference Workshop A
Tuesday 29th May, 2018

09.30 - 12.00
Challenges and opportunities for the application of genome editing in agricultural biotechnology
Workshop Leader: Kan Wang, Professor , Iowa State University Workshop Leader: Chris Fuller, VP Informatics, Caribou Biosciences


  • Advantages and disadvantages of various CRISPR reagents delivery methods
  • Bottle necks in CRISPR technology
  • Do off-target activities matter and what are the acceptable survey methods?


Kan Wang, Professor , Iowa State University

Professor Kan Wang is currently a Professor in the Department of Agronomy, Director of the Center for Plant Transformation, and Co-Director of the Crop Bioengineering Center at Iowa State University. Dr. Wang obtained her BS in Biochemistry from Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and her PhD in Biology from Ghent University, Belgium. Dr. Wang is regarded as one of the pioneers in understanding the mechanism of DNA transfer from Agrobacterium to plants, a fundamental knowledge that became the corner stone of building tools for plant genetic transformation. She spent 7 years at ICI seeds (now Syngenta) as a project leader in genetic transformation of corn and soybean. In 1996, Dr. Wang came to Iowa State University and established the first public crop transformation facility, which provides genetic transformation services of corn, soybean, and rice for the research communities. Her current research interests include exploring novel plant genetic transformation and genome editing technologies, investigating CRISPR off-target activities and understanding the functional roles of Agrobacterium non-coding RNAs.

Chris Fuller, VP Informatics, Caribou Biosciences

Chris leads the informatics and software efforts at Caribou Biosciences and has a background managing diverse teams in developing instrumentation, medical devices, and microfluidic systems. He has held research and leadership positions in consulting, startup, and established company environments, including leading the development of the CellKey instrument for MDS Sciex from its inception through to product launch. Chris is an inventor of numerous patents and patent applications. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Bioinformatics from the University of California, San Francisco.

Pre-Conference Workshop B
Tuesday 29th May, 2018

13.00 - 15.30
Food for Thought: How New Breeding Technologies Benefit Animals, Socially-Conscious Consumers, Global Genetics Companies and a Growing Planet?
Workshop Leader: Tammy Lee, President & CEO, Recombinetics Workshop Leader: Mitchell Abrahamsen, CCO & CSO, Recombinetics Workshop Leader: Tad Sonstegard, CSO, Acceligen

  • Use of state-of-the art new breeding technologies to select naturally-occurring traits to accelerate genetic improvements in livestock (technical capabilities and methods; demonstration of no off-target effects); developing novel traits to solve problems that can’t be addressed through traditional breeding and current genetic stocks (selecting for and accelerating animal health and welfare traits)
  • Benefits of natural and novel traits to animals, producers, consumers and the environment
  • Leveraging commercial partnerships for regulatory approvals in NBT-accepting countries; Strategies to accelerate harmonization of trade policies in U.S.; Educating regulators and consumers to gain market access and commercialize accelerated breeding techniques

Tammy Lee, President & CEO, Recombinetics

Tammy Lee has more than 15 years of executive experience leadership and currently serves as President and CEO for Recombinetics, a global leader in gene-editing animals for animal health, welfare and productivity and safe, healthy food production.

Tammy brings a breadth and depth of business experience to the role of CEO.  She’s held senior executive roles in large, complex, multinational businesses including Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Carlson companies, a global hospitality and travel company with $32 billion in managed revenues. She was Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Delta Air Lines during Northwest-Delta merger and previously served as a corporate officer for Northwest Airlines. She also served as Vice President of Corporate and Foundation Relations at the University of Minnesota, where she spearheaded the Global Food Initiative and established an MOU with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organizations (UN-FAO).

Tammy has an MBA from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. and serves on the Board of Regents for her alma mater, Concordia College.

Mitchell Abrahamsen, CCO & CSO, Recombinetics

Prior to joining Recombinetics, Dr. Abrahamsen was the Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Cobb-Vantress for Tyson Foods, Vice President of Research at Hill’s Pet Nutrition for Colgate-Palmolive, Vice President of Research and Development, Chief Scientific Officer of Pyxis Genomics, Inc, and a professor in the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology and Director of Graduate Studies, Molecular Veterinary Biosciences at University of Minnesota. Dr. Abrahamsen received a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Washington.

Tad Sonstegard, CSO, Acceligen

Dr. Tad Sonstegard is currently Chief Scientific Officer of Acceligen, a food animal genetics subsidiary of Recombinetics, where he leads both business development and research efforts dedicated to livestock improvement around the world. The main focus is application of advanced precision breeding or genome editing for livestock genetic improvement that promotes sustainability and animal health and well-being.  Previously, he led a livestock genomics research program at the USDA, ARS Beltsville that delivered many applications in germplasm conservation and genetic improvement for livestock including the first commercially successful, ag-based SNP tool. He also identified causative variation affecting fertility and thermo-tolerance in cattle and has led consortia to generate genome assemblies of the water buffalo, goat, Zebu cattle, and an expression atlas of cattle.  Dr. Sonstegard received his undergraduate degree from Iowa State University and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.  His has published 190 peer-reviewed articles and has received award recognition for his work in genomic research for livestock genetic improvement.