News & Events
Benson Hill Biosystems Engages with Leading Experts in Photosynthesis
St. Louis, MO and Research Triangle Park, NC – December 2, 2013 – Benson Hill Biosystems, Inc., an early-stage agricultural biotechnology company focused on increasing intrinsic crop yields, today announced that four leading experts in photosynthesis have joined its advisory team. Drs. Asaph Cousins, David Kramer, Christine Raines, and Charles Yocum represent a group of globally recognized leaders in diverse scientific areas within the field of photosynthesis and plant primary metabolism.
“It is an honor for us to be working with Asaph, Dave, Christine, and Charlie,” said Thomas Brutnell, Chief Scientific Officer of Benson Hill Biosystems. “This is a world-renowned group of scientific leaders that share our vision and truly appreciate the need to translate innovation into commercially viable products. Benson Hill is dedicated to achieving significant improvements in crop yield, principally by enhancing photosynthetic efficiency, and their involvement will help make this a reality.”
Dr. Cousins is an expert in photosynthesis, particularly in plant light utilization, carbon assimilation, and isotope exchange in response to changing environmental conditions. His research has contributed to understanding the regulation and control of the flow of carbon and energy between primary metabolic pathways and amongst organelles. A professor at Washington State University, Asaph’s research is currently focused on how solar energy is used to drive the major metabolic pathways within plant tissues, and on determining the mechanisms influencing C4 photosynthetic efficiency.
Dr. Kramer is a world leading expert in the bioenergetics of photosynthesis, and has pioneered an approach known as phenometrics to gain a deeper understanding of photosynthesis in vivo. To realize this goal, his inter-disciplinary lab has invented and developed a series of next-generation, high-resolution and high-throughput spectroscopic technologies to characterize photosynthetic processes in real-time. Dr. Kramer’s efforts also recently led to the establishment of Michigan State University’s Center for Advanced Algal and Plant Phenotyping (CAAPP).
Dr. Raines helped pioneer in the use of molecular techniques to manipulate photosynthesis. Her research has focused on the photosynthetic carbon reduction cycle (also known as the Calvin-Benson cycle), which is the primary pathway of carbon fixation in plants. She has also used transgenic approaches to elevate plant growth rates and increase biomass accumulation and crop yield. Dr. Raines is a Professor and the Head of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Essex, as well as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Experimental Botany.
Dr. Yocum is recognized internationally for his research on photosynthetic electron transfer and energy conversion. His most seminal research efforts have been directed at understanding photosystem 2 and its associated water oxidation reaction. Dr. Yocum is responsible for discovering and elucidating the structure and function of numerous key enzymes critical to photosynthetic processes. He spent his entire career at the University of Michigan, where he now holds the title of Alfred S. Sussman Distinguished University Professor Emeritus.