Dr. Joyce Van Eck is a faculty member at the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI) and is also the director of the BTI Center for Plant Biotechnology Research. For her studies, she applies genetic engineering and gene editing strategies to major food crops, such as potato and tomato, in addition to several model species (Setaria viridis, Brachypodium distachyon, and Asclepias syriaca).
In addition to her roles at BTI, Joyce is also an Adjunct Professor in the Section of Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell University. She leads a research lab with a focus on biotechnological approaches to the study of gene function and crop improvement. For this research, the Van Eck lab applies several genetic engineering and gene editing strategies to two major food crops: potatoes and tomatoes. Over the course of her career, Professor Van Eck has been presented with many awards, such as the US Secretary of Agriculture’s Honor Award for increasing global food security and Dow AgroSciences’ Above and Beyond Award.
Joyce Van Eck received her B.S. in plant breeding from The Pennsylvania State University, M.S. in plant science from University of Delaware, and Ph.D. in plant breeding and genetics from Cornell University. She is a leader in the development of biotechnological approaches for the study of gene function as it relates to crop improvement and fast-tracking domestication to transform underutilized species into viable sources to diversify and strengthen our food supply. She uses several model plant species for her work, in addition to applying genetic engineering strategies and genome editing to food crops including several Physalis species, millet, potato, and tomato. The development of biotechnological techniques in her lab has made it possible to deliver genome editing reagents into plant cells, and her lab was responsible for generating the very first CRISPR/Cas9 edited tomato and groundcherry lines. She has been involved in teaching, educational outreach activities, and science communication that have led to a leadership role in public engagement in science.